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English Church Architecture -



WATTISFIELD, St. Margaret (TM 011 742)     (August 2006)

(Bedrock:  Upper Cretaceous, Upper Chalk)


This building now appears almost wholly Perpendicular, yet the tower’s thirteenth century origins are betrayed outside by the lack of buttressing and confirmed inside by a double-flat-chamfered nave arch with an inner order dying into the jambs.   The tower (shown left, from the southeast) rises above a basal frieze of flushwork arches to two-light supermullioned bell-openings and battlements at the top.


Nave and chancel windows to the north and south are heavily restored and segmental-pointed, with lights of varying widths and dropped supermullioned tracery with quatrefoils above.  The three-light chancel E. window has a castellated transom, strong mullions, double subarcuated outer lights, a supermullioned central light, and a quatrefoil in the apex.  The S. porch (now the vestry) is arguably the best part of the church (see the photograph, below left), being faced with knapped flint, with more knapped flint and red brick tumbled in around the outer arch, and diagonal buttresses with flushwork monograms, thought to read “C.B.” and “M.T.” , and to refer to Charles Brandon, owner, c. 1530, of nearby Gyffords Manor, and to Mary Tudor his wife (note - not the later Queen, who was then just fourteen).   The N. porch is a wooden affair of cruck construction (shown below right), with a collar-beam roof. 


The chancel arch bears a hollow chamfer above semi-octagonal responds.  A rood stair has been built into the eastern end of the nave S. wall, and a piscina, into the eastern end of the chancel S. wall;  the latter has an ogee arch beneath a square surround and open mouchettes in the spandrels.  The octagonal font displays blank, cusped Y-tracery on the stem and shields in squares on the faces of the bowl.  The hybrid collar-braced/scissor-braced roofs date from 1872 and look as structurally confused as undistinguished Victorian roofs so often look.