Monday, June 06, 2011

St James, West Hanney, Oxon (ex-Berks)

Suddenly I realised at Denchworth that I was only a mile or so from West Hanney and hoping that the funeral was over and the congregation dispersed I returned here. All but one mourner had gone and the church was open with no-one inside. This was quite a treat and a church which repays a visit. Unusually the tower, in a north transept position, was partly demolished in 1939-40 as it was dangerous. The present gabled top dates from 1957 and blends in well, and gives the exterior character. The church has a Norman nave, with some windows and a very fine doorway. The north transept and chancel are EE C13 and the south transept and aisle are Dec work.
The church was restored and embellished by the architect James Brooks in a rich EE style entirely in keeping with the rest; his the raising of the nave with a clerestory and the excellent north porch. Lofty spacious interior with plenty to see. The font is Norman decorated with odd vertical strips of rosettes. The Jacobean pulpit has a back plate and sounding board dated 1649. Medieval screen to the chancel with later decoration in the panels below (BofE says C19 or C20, but I thought they could be older). The sanctuary is raised a further three steps and has goof C17 altar rails. Beyond the rails the floor is inlaid with many brasses C14-C16 in good condition.  

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