Monday, 10 August 2015

Belton..All Saints church

It was a glorious April day when I visited this church. It stands on an incline at a sharp bend down a narrow road leading out of a large village. It now has a housing estate built alongside it.

When I first arrived I had to content myself with exploring the outside of the church as the door was locked.

It has a sprawling churchyard with a few interesting headstones.

The church had a bright red tiled roof added during the C19 looked quite startling at first glance with the strong sun shining down upon it.

I could see where the outer wall of the chancel and the porch had been sympathetically restored with flint stonework.
The tower, as I found out later, was originally a round one, but by the C19 all that remained of it was a heap of rubble!
Both the North and South doorways are pleasant and complete with headstops which show varying degrees of weathering..

Just as I was about to leave and travel on to my next church, a lady drove up with a key to open the church door, She told me they have to keep the church locked due to persistent vandalism…no doubt this was the reason for the outside of all the windows being covered with wire meshing!

<<  Window with headstops

The church had a thatched roof until the mid C19 when major restoration took place. ...
During this time the chancel was rebuilt and the interior furnishings renewed.

I have to admit to being a little disappointed with the interior of this church. The nave now appears to be a carpeted meeting room, but there were still a few things of interest for me to enjoy.

A faded C14 wall painting of St Christopher is on the North wall of the nave, and alongside it another wall painting which looks to be from a later date (possibly C15) but as it's so worn away it's difficult to hazard a it's  date....These wall painting were uncovered in 1848

The C13 purbeck stone font was restored in 1849 - the same time as a broken Norman font was discovered and subsequently pieced together again.
The chancel was reconstructed in 1880 and has a pleasing East window, and below it is a lovely carved oak reredos from just a few years later.

The sanctuary has an ogee-arched recess low in it’s North wall (I would like to find out the reason for this)

I was sorry to find no pamphlets about this church which would have aided my visit. The 'key' lady told me there was no-one in the parish who showed any interest in producing one….This is one of the reasons I left this rather forlorn church with a feeling of unease about it’s future. It’s difficult to understand why there should be apathy in a growing community such as this.

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