Monday 29 February 2016

In Hitchen Herts St Mary’s makes a hit

St Mary's Hitchen treasures in store here

Like several towns in Hertfordshire Hitchin is has been modernised and messed about. Yet despite this right in the town centre sits the good-looking church of St Mary’s.

Rosie the puppy and I pressed our way through the pancake races being held in the churchyard, (it was Shrove Tuesday) her nose twitching madly.

We entered through the north door into a wide and long interior, welcomed by a lovely12c font sadly spoilt a bit by Cromwellian forces.

Sunlight flooded the interior making the most of some lovely treasures inside St Mary’s including some exquisite woodwork in the chancel chapel. The races over we retreated back to the car park.

Saturday 27 February 2016

Knebworth 2: A church open for business

A lusty piece of Lutyens
Knebworth Again

More fun this time in the village of Knebworth, as we parked close to a church, St Martin,s, a curiosity designed by Edwin Lutyens from top to bottom. Work started on the church, with its classical interior, in 1914 although the job was not completed until 1964. 

Inside two Doric columns appear to hold the place up and transepts dash off from side to side creating areas that distinctly look like a Greek church.

Rosie investigated between the pews, benches and cassocks and I made a sketch. 

Parish website is a confection of colour  More 

Thursday 25 February 2016

Across from Knebworth House

In small field a short walk from Knebworth House (‘Visit us for a Fantastic Family Day Out’) is the church of The Church of St Mary and St Thomas of Canterbury.

Across fields to the East you can see the warehouses and factories of Stevenage and lorries travelling along the A1.

It was a warm afternoon and the flint and stone caught the sun. The church was locked so all the good bits were denied us: a screen by Edward Lutyens and Lytton Family chapel and possibly some work by Nicholas Hawkesmoor.

Rosie the Puppy and I were content to explore the churchyard.

For the most colour church website in the world click here

One of our smallest counties and over run with housing and industrial estates yet there magic to discover in Hertfordshire. Churches and tombs tucked away. Rosie and go forth across this county
More on these treasures to come. 

Tuesday 23 February 2016

Catch a cathedral Tuesday: B is for Bristol

Along the nave - Bristol with TWO lady chapels

Bristol Cathedral, formally the Cathedral Church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity, is the Church of England cathedral in the city of Bristol. Up the hill towards Clifton on College Green. It was established in 1140 originally as a Romanesque abbey. The Chapter House is the surviving gem of this period.

Two lady chapels ushered in the Gothic style with fine ‘reach-for-the-sky’ carvings. Work on creating a new nave was interrupted by Henry VIII in 1539. Ah yes, the Reformation! 

It was nearly three hundred and thirty years later that G. E. Street finished the job. J.L. Person (architect of Truro Cathedral) added a high altar reredos and the western towers. Job done.

This is a small extract from English Cathedrals: A journey in drawings The book is an affectionate voyage around the country capturing on paper the wonder of these very special places. It is to be published in April 2016. 

Copies can be ordered in advance, £16 including postage and packing, via