Tuesday, 8 October 2019

St Nicholas, Montgomery

St Llonio, Llandinam

Llandinam is mainly known as the birthplace of David Davies, the industrialist responsible for many of the collieries in the Rhondda Valley and the subsequent development of Barry as a seaport.
But it is also home to a church with an interesting past and dedication, though it is easy to miss, built high on a promontory overlooking the village and the busy A470 road below.

Claimed to have been founded in 520AD, the church served a monastery until the 13th century and was the mother church of Llanidloes and Llanwnnog. However, only the robust 13th century tower, its stair turret and a portion of the north wall survive from the mediaeval period, the rest being a thorough 19th century rebuild in 1864-5 by G.E Street. 

The tower itself has a quaint, small window on the stair turret (which effectively forms a buttress on the north-west corner). Other mediaeval fragments include tomb recesses and a piscina in the chancel, and the inner arch from the porch into the tower, and the 14th century tower arch itself. The main body of the church has a large south aisle and a darkly atmospheric chancel (thanks to some heavy Victorian stained glass).

St Llonio, Llandinam SY17 5BY

St Lawrence, Alton

Thursday, 29 August 2019

St Andrew, Mottisfont

St Mary, Twyford

Holy Cross, Durley

St Peter, Bishop's Waltham

St Mary & All Saints, Droxford

St James, East Tisted

All Saints, Upper Farringdon

Holy Cross, Mark

St Mary, Wedmore

St Cuthbert, Wells

St Bridget, Brean

St Mary, Berrow

St Michael, Brent Knoll

St Mary the Blessed Virgin, East Brent

Holy Trinity, St Austell

St Probus & St Grace, Probus

St Ladoca, Ladock

St Nonna, Altarnun

St Nicholas, Tresco, Isles of Scilly

St Mary, Hugh Town, Isles of Scilly

St Agnes, Lower Town, Isles of Scilly

All Saints, Bryher, Isles of Scilly

Cathedral of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Truro

St Mary the Virgin, Gillingham

St Mary's, Old Town, Isles of Scilly

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

St Mary, Battersea

St Mary's is a lovely Georgian church on an enviably prominent location on the banks of the River Thames, opposite Chelsea Harbour. The site is one of the oldest places of worship "south of the river".
There has been a place of worship here since around 800AD (the church celebrated 1,200 years of worship in 2000), but the current building was erected in 1775-77 to replace the earlier medieval church. 
The architect was Joseph Dixon, and he delivered a building of classical  Georgian design, with a Doric portico surmounted with a tower and spire, executed in brick with stone dressings. The detailing (such as the spire) is happily vernacular and almost rustic. It would happily feel at home in New England.
The interior comprises a large undivided nave, with galleries on three sides, and a small apsidal sanctuary. The east window here, in the gothic style, looks oddly out of lace: it was in fact rescued from the previous church and contains stained and enamelled glass of exceptional quality, dating to 1631 and attributed to Bernard van Linge.
Other (modern) windows are also of interest, and reflect some of the famous members of the congregation: the poet William Blake was married here in 1792, and turner painted views of the river Thames from the vestry window at the front. In the spacious crypt (now housing a pre-school nursery) is the resting place of Benedict Arnold (1741-1801) who changed sides in the American War of Independence, and is regarded by Americans as an early traitor.
The church is home to a lively and active congregation, with worship in the modern Catholic style.
St Mary's Church, Battersea Church Road, London, SW11 3NA 

Sunday, 2 June 2019

St Mary, Winchfield

St Mary's is the beautiful church of the commuter town of Winchfield, and an excellent example of Norman architecture. It is situated on a lane to the south of the present town, on the footpath to the Basingstoke Canal.
Completed around 1150, the church consists of a sturdy, plain west tower, nave and chancel. The north aisle was added in 1849 but the south porch dates from the late 14th to early 15th Century.
The church has three remarkably well preserved Norman archways, exemplars of the Romanesque style. The south door has two orders of wonderful zig-zag decoration resting on capitals of acanthus leaves; the tower arch is plain but the scalloped capitals very fine; most celebrated is the chancel arch, with three orders of decoration, two bands of zig-zag, and an unusual inner order of shallow cusps ending in rolls running the full depth of the arch. This rests on attached columns flanked by yet more zig-zag and two large squints.
All of the chancel windows are Norman in character with wide splays decorated with yet more zig-zag, although the east window is actually a Victorian replica.
Furnishings include a wonderfully carved Jacobean pulpit installed in 1634, and a font with its original Norman basin, decorated with a motif of blind round-headed arcading, on a modern stem.
The church is in a beautifully maintained churchyard, and has a regular Sunday service.
Bagwell Ln, Winchfield RG27 8DB

Cathedral Church of St Thomas of Canterbury, Portsmouth

Royal Garrison Church, Portsmouth

St Michael, Llanmihangel

St Brynach, Llanfrynach (Cowbridge)

St Tydfil, Llysworney

St Martin, Caerphilly

St Martin's is the parish church of Caerphilly and part of the Church in Wales. It forms part of a joint benefice for the town which also includes St Catherine's and St Andrew's.
The present church replaced an earlier, probably 13th Century chapel, which lay to the west of today's site. St Martin's Chapel was part of Eglwysilian parish until 1850 when the parish of Caerphilly was created.
The present neo-gothic church was designed by a former pupil of Sir George Gilbert Scott, Charles Buckeridge in 1873 and built in 1877-9: the nave was lengthened by 2 bays in 1904-5, and the prominent and rather handsome tower was constructed in 1907-10, both by local Cardiff architect George Eley Halliday. The south aisle was widened in 1938.
The church is in an Early English style, with the larger windows filled with geometrical tracery. It has a spacious nave and aisles with a handsome arcade of 5 bays, leading to the chancel flanked by side chapels. The only ancient feature is the 15th Century font. The east window has fine glass.
The church is open during weekday mornings for visits and private prayer as well as services on Sundays. We received a very warm welcome on our visit.
St Martin's Church, St Martin's Road, Caerphilly CF83 1EJ

Priory Church of St Mary, Chepstow

Sunday, 12 May 2019

St Edward the Confessor, Netley

St Edward's sits close by the impressive ruins of Netley Abbey, the best preserved Cistercian House in the south of England. The village and its church, however, are creatures of the 19th century, and particularly the establishment of the Royal Victoria Military Hospital in 1856: the hospital, once the longest single building in the world, was demolished in 1966 (though its chapel still remains).

St Edward's was built in 1886 to the designs of J D Sedding, one of the most noted Victorian church architects, perhaps best known for Holy Trinity, Sloane Street. The exterior is handsome, with the offset square tower providing a pleasing focal point, as one crosses the spacious lawned churchyard. The nave and tower both have long lancet windows; the round west window is an interesting composition, with a single large quatrefoil containing four trefoils.

The interior is a little disappointing: the long, whitewashed nave delivers something of a tunnel effect from the west end; things improve moving eastwards towards the chancel, as the two-bay aisles (set where one would expect the transepts) provide more visual interest and the careful detailing becomes apparent. It has a fine red marble pulpit, font and low chancel wall (in place of a rail). In the south aisle is a rather badly damaged monument rescued from Netley Abbey (originally placed in the castle) of a knight, c. 13th century.

St Edward the Confessor, Netley Abbey, Southampton SO31 5FE

St Peter & St Paul, Great Missenden

St Michael the Archangel, Southampton

Founded around 1070, shortly after the Norman Conquest, St Michael's is the oldest building in Southampton and the only church in the area of the original mediaeval town which is still in use.

Of the original Norman church, only the lower part of the central tower survives. Originally cruciform, later additions have resulted in its present rectangular floor-plan. The church was expanded in the 12th century with the addition of aisles, and the rebuilding of the chancel. North and south chapels were added in the 13th century. Both aisles and chapels were widened in the 14th-15th centuries. A major rebuilding of the nave and aisles in 1828-9 was undertaken to insert galleries: since removed, all that remains are the delicate arcades and plaster ceiling. The tower spire was erected in the 15th Century and rebuilt in 1732, then further heightened in 1887 to make it a better landmark for shipping.

The interior contains the impressive the tomb of Sir Richard Lyster, Lord Chief Justice to Henry VIII, and a font of Tournai marble from the late 12th Century decorated with three roundels on each side, one of which supposedly depicts St Michael the Archangel; the others depict creatures that might be Griffins or winged lions. The church also contains two rare mediaeval brass eagle lecterns from the 15th Century, the finer of which was rescued from the bombed ruins of Holy Rood church in the Second World War. The East window has depictions of the original five churches from the town.

The church has a busy parish life, with worship in a traditional style (some services with incense) with a sung Eucharist.
St Michael the Archangel, 55 Bugle Street, Southampton SO14 2AG

St George the Martyr, Southwark