Saintbury, St Nicholas Church
History, tourist information, and nearby accommodation
HERITAGE HIGHLIGHTS: Saxon sundial on the south nave wall
The south door is Norman, with a rounded arch and roll-moulding with a tympanum carved with lozenge patterns. The arch makes a lovely contrast with the oak door, with ironwork created by the Campden Guild in Arts and Crafts style. Though the door is interesting, it is what stands above it that really deserves attention; a grotesque carving of a face. Grotesques are often seen decorating the exterior of a church or used as corbel heads, but why over the doorway? One theory is that the grimacing face was meant to warn worshippers to be on their best behaviour in church.
The 16th century font is rather curious; it is carved with decoration from 3 distinct periods; billet ornament from the Norman period, Early English dog-tooth decoration, and Tudor roses.
High on the wall is a royal coat of arms to Queen Anne, probably dating to about 1709. Also from Queen Anne's reign is the chancel screen. There is a good Jacobean Communion table in the north transept, and under the table is the original medieval stone altar, or mensa. The altar stone was hidden under the Communion table during the Commonwealth period, when all stone altars were ordered destroyed by the Puritan leadership.
The sanctuary rails are early 16th century, and on either side of the altar are Arts and Crafts style candle holders carved from oak by the Campden Guild. There is a very unusual double piscina with a shelf halfway up, probably dating to the reign of Edward I (1272-1307). Next to the piscina is a fanciful monument to William Warburton (1578-1649). This monument originally stood in the Parsonage house.
Saintbury is a treasure; a wonderful medieval church with so many fascinating historical features that it is hard to mention them all. The church is set in a picture-perfect Cotswold village, with honey-toned cottages. The church is in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust, and as of this writing no permanent arrangement appears to have ben made for a a keyholder. It is a good idea to check current opening tiomes at the CCT website before making a ttrip. We took advantage of an advertised opening day to visit, and I'm so glad we did!
About Saintbury, St Nicholas
Address: Broadway, Saintbury, Gloucestershire, England, WR12 7PX
Attraction Type: Historic Church
Location: At the southern edge of Saintbury village. Limited opening times.
Website: Saintbury, St Nicholas
Churches Conservation Trust
Photo Credit: David Ross and Britain Express
Heritage Rated from 1- 5 (low-exceptional) on historic interest
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Nearest Accommodation to Saintbury, St Nicholas: