On a glorious sunny day, with the ground covered in snow I ventured out to take some photographs. Snow always makes pictures look so bright and crisp.
The first picture is the view through the churchyard gate - the second is from the east. The tower is about eighty feet high and contains three bells, although sadly only one is now safe to be rung.
There is evidence of Saxon work in the structure, in particular the base of the tower and perhaps the north door are Saxon.
The Normans built a cruciform church on the site of the Saxon building, with a central tower with transepts to the north and south, a nave to the west and a chancel or apse to the east. Rounded Norman arches support the tower and remains of Norman windows are visible in the south wall of the nave.
The present chancel was built between 1190 and 1300 (Early English), and the south transept was replaced. The narrow lancet windows in the east wall and the entrance to and windows in the vestry are characteristic of this period.
The chancel arch dates from the Decorated Period (1300-1350), and would have replaced a low, round Norman arch. The windows in the south wall of the nave, the arch near the organ (originally the entrance to the North Transept) and also the blocked arch to the former Marie de Bradehurst Chapel (now demolished) on the south wall date from this period.
The north aisle was added by the Victorians in the 1880s, but was done so as to blend in well with the existing architecture. The two westerly arches of the central arcade were built at this time. The small door in the north wall near the font is either late Saxon or early Norman and was moved to its present position stone by stone when the new aisle was added. Before that it was situated opposite the south door.
Here are pictures of the font (The floor plaque reads "In memory of Hedley Vincent. D.S.O. 1914-1966"), and the pipe organ which was built by F H Browne & Sons of Deal in 1904.
In the north wall of the chancel is the figure of a small crusader set into the wall (photograph below). The effigy represents a knight of the reign of Henry III or Edward I (about 1270) with a lion at his feet. This was probably a heart shrine. Men who went on crusades sometimes left instructions that in the event of their death abroad their heart should be returned to England and buried in their local church. This example may be the shrine of Richard de Cahaignes, the last member of the family to live at Horsted Keynes. The chancel was rebuilt in the 13th century and he may well have been responsible for the rebuilding. If this is a heart shrine, then somewhere built into the masonry will be a small silver casket containing the mummified remains of the Crusader's heart.
The large window at the west end of the nave and the small square topped window in the south wall of the chancel date from the Perpendicular Period (1350-1550).
The west window is shown below and depicts Mary and Joseph taking Jesus to the Temple for his Presentation when he was about six weeks old. They were greeted by the aged Simeon and the prophetess Anna.
The window shown below, in the south wall of the chancel, contains the only ancient glass in the building. The eastern (on the left) light contains ancient glass from th Old Staple Hall, High Holborn with family sheilds. The western light contains some 16th century glass and family sheilds. The
Here is the east window, of the crucifixion, and the two windows in the north wall of the chancel.
Harold Macmillan (Lord Stockton) was one of the Senior Statesmen of the 20th century. He lived in the parish and worshipped at this church for many years, and is commemorated in the plaque below which is in the church. He held senior government posts during and after the Second World War and served as Prime Minister from 1957 until 1963. Lord Stockton died in 1986 and is buried in the eastern section of the churchyard. In 1994 a memorial bequest to St Giles School for an extension to the school buildings was made, and at the same time this plaque was erected.
The final picture is of a monument in the churchyard and the sundial mounted over the door in the south porch telling you I was at the church around midday (Check the clock on the tower in the photos above!).
Visitors to this album since June 2003
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