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

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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