Thursday, 5 March 2009

Village Eyecatcher

Isn't it odd how one changes one's mind about things. In the 1970's I lived in Tur Langton in Leicestershire, and just because this church wasn't on a ley line (the original is now only an arch in a garden just outside the village) we flared-trousered know-alls dismissed it out of hand. "No sense of holiness" we opined, looking at it from the pub windows opposite and never going in it unless one of us got married or died. Now, I can't get enough of it. Designed by those dynastic architects, Goddards of Leicester, the new church for the village arrived eye-wateringly in a field given by Sir Giles Isham in 1866. Much red brick, as can be seen, but with Box stone dressings and blue brick detailing. Goddards had been busy restoring local churches in the area (Slawston, Glooston) and used the local 13th century idiom for the spire, but in brick rather than stone. Inside (we increasingly find ourselves in there) it's a Victorian riot of polychrome banding, patterned encaustic floor tiling and much decoration on the pews. And a 'very florid font', as Geoff Brandwood and Martin Cherry have it in their very informative Men of Property, a study of six generations of Goddards. Round here you just can't get away from them- schools, banks, churches, lodge houses. All now glowing in early March light.


bikerted said...

So many of us now are in the hatch, match and dispatch brigade but it does not stop us from marvelling at the architecture of religious buildings.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Ah, I too once had trouble appreciating such things. We were all loons in our loons, and deserved a good kick up the apse.

Diplomat said...

Dear oh dear - what about the crushing of local vernacular brought about by the excessive use of easily won, cheap Bath stones. This epidemic so naively spread by the victorians is still with us today - will we never learn. Just look at the state of most sub-terranian won Bath stone from the late 19th/early 20th centuries. Upon hiting its 117th birthday such stone is prone to self destruct, tracery work and carved detail falls away like flesh from a Hammer film and the verger spends his wekends sweeping upthe resulting scree from the church path. Despite the above rant - what an optemistic time - how much did the Tur Langton example cost do you reckon ?

Peter Ashley said...

Well, I never knew that about Bath stone. I suppose it makes no difference coming from Box? Was it spoil out of Brunel's tunnel we wonder? Anyway, amazingly I can tell you how much Tur Langton cost: £2,651.00. Honest.

CarolineLD said...

What a striking building, it seems to have landed from somewhere else. (Brick churches always feel so urban.) And what a bargain it was!

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