Sunday, 21 February 2016

Middleton..Holy Trinity Church

This country church stands on a small incline just beside the green of a quintessential old English village

It has a large graveyard where much of it is kept admirably tidy by  the sheep which are allowed to graze there

Near the porch is a tombstone for the Rev. George Hamilton who died 1926 aged 94…elsewhere in the churchyard is a tombstone for another early Rector of this church-Rev. Joseph White 1810-1873

Most of this church dates from the 14th and 15th centuries…the C15 tower is topped by a recessed lead sheathed spire, which from a distance resembles a needle piercing the clouds

The porch was reconstructed in 1765 and unfortunately partially covers the Holy water stoup next to the fine Norman doorway which has a chevron motif

Some outside restoration of the church took place in 1864 when most of the windows were replaced and the walls refaced with flint.
 The church suffered a fire in 1955 when a spark during repair work to the spire set alight to the thatched roof. Thankfully much of the furnishings were saved but the roof was damaged beyond repair and now a roof of tiles has taken it’s place.

The West end of the church supports a C19 gallery in front of the tower arch.

The nave holds a fine C15 octagonal East Anglia style font which is still in good condition
…there is also the remains of a wall painting of St Christopher discovered in 1908, which had been damaged by the fire. St Christopher is a common wall painting in medieval churches and is usually on the wall facing the entrance door. He is the patron saint for travellers...

 “If thou the face of Christopher on any morn shall see-                                                                              Throughout the day from sudden death thou shalt preserved be”

A newspaper article recounting the 1955 fire is now placed across the rood  stair door for all to read.

The church is light and airy as there is no rood screen to divide the nave from the chancel…new chancel steps were added just after the fire. It is thought the early chancel had been extended in the early C14.

During that fateful fire a burning beam had fallen on a ledger-stone of Anthony Pettow who died 1610 and broke off the head of it’s brass image. Unexpectedly thirty five years later the missing head was found in some ground where the burnt thatch from the church had been dumped, and has  now been reunited with the rest of it’s brass.  It is on display on the West wall of the church under the gallery

The altar is a simple Stuart communion table and the reredos behind is dominated by Decalogue panels. The ‘gothick’ altar rails are from the early 1800s.

Also in the chancel is a nice C13 piscina and an ogee arched dropped-sill sedilia

…and an old coffin lid, that is believed to have come from the once nearby church of Fordley which was already in ruins by the C18 (and has now completely disappeared) …It is likely stone from this church was taken away and used in buildings elsewhere. 


 There are many memorials of interest in the church
This a church well worth a visit

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