Monday, 28 October 2013

Horndon on the Hill

Approached from the north SS Peter & Paul, locked no keyholder, presents a rather battered and bruised aspect, by far its best vista, the south having been rather blandly spruced up. I liked the broach spire, a feature I'm not normally attracted to but this sits well with its building.

ST PETER AND ST PAUL. Primarily an E.E. church, as is evidenced by both nave arcades and the remains of a clerestory above and the N chancel chapel arcade. The N nave arcade seems to have come first: four bays, alternatingly circular and octagonal piers and capitals with crockets and flat stiffleaf. The voussoirs of one of the arches are decorated by rosettes, a most uncommon motif. The S arcade is nearly identical, except that the capitals are undecorated. The E responds however have upright leaves which look as if they might have been re-tooled in the C15. The arcade to the chancel chapel has an octagonal pier with moulded capitals. The arches are double-chamfered, whereas most of the arches of the nave arcade are of one step with one chamfer. The C13 clerestory windows were quatrefoil. C13 also the S doorway with two orders of colonnettes, of which one is keeled, and many-moulded voussoirs. At the W end in the C15 a timber bell-turret was erected inside the first nave bay from the W, an independent construction on four sturdy posts with crossbeams and carved braces. An interesting feature is that the N and S beams cantilever out to the E and support struts for the superstructure. Trellis-strutting above the crossbeams. Broach-spire. The roofs of chancel and nave are partly original. One alteration is that dormer-windows have been set into the nave roof on both sides. The timber S porch does not contain much of the C15. Not much of interest in the windows. The E window of four lights is Perp ; in the S aisle two C14 windows. - FONT. C14, square bowl with some panelling; on square stem. - LECTERN. 1898. Good Arts-and-Crafts job, straight in all its timber-work but with some turquoise enamel inlay and some copper. Whom by? - PLATE. Cup of 1567; Flagon of 1700. - MONUMENT. Daniel Caldwell d. 1634 and wife. With inscription and two black columns; figures of prophets with scrolls stand outside these.

W door spandrel (2)

HORNDON-ON-THE-HILL. Its delightful houses take us into another age, jostling each other with their thatched roofs. A timbered inn has overhung the road for 500 years, the 400-year-old market hall is a club for the village folk, and Arden Hall has a square brick dovecot of the 17th century. But an avenue of lime trees brings us to the quaint porch of a church older than all the houses, for we come into it through a Norman doorway to find the light falling through two Norman clerestory windows. The nave arcades are 13th century, with fine piers carved with leaves and flowers. The splendid chancel roof is 15th century, probably the work of the carpenters who set up the huge beams crowning one of the four bays to support the timbered belfry. The font, of unusual design and simple beauty, is 600 years old.

A great hero of this village was Thomas Highbed, who walked into the fire for his faith in 1555. He was apparently a man of some note, for the Record Office in London has a complete inventory of all his goods, chattels, and farming implements.

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