Victorian Vandals and a Norman Nave

Posted by in Castle Coop News | 2 comments

Bonjour! It seems pretty incredible that we’re nearing the end of November already. The sun has been shining so brightly that everything still seems sparkly. I took a walk to enjoy this winter sunshine along the riverside yesterday. If you mosey on past the Mill, you end up in the churchyard which flanks the river bank and so I decided today, I would make our Norman Church Item no. 3 on the Castle Coop Good things List.



The church of St. Mary the Virgin in Castle Coop:

Sometimes in the summer, Lady Egality and I pack up a picnic basket and take ourselves down to the river just beyond the Church. We tuck ourselves into a little curve  on the bank where there is a bench, in front of the window in this photograph. If you were to walk into the picture, on the right hand side there is a porch with a Norman Arch. There you would see several crosses which have been cut into the stone going all the way around :

2013-11-26 14.25.14


Crusader Crosses:

Legend has it that when Richard the Lion Heart was going round saying ‘Your Country needs You!’, the village Crusaders took the precaution of carving the crosses into the Arch before they seized their swords and left Castle Coop to go and fight the Infidel in their chain mail. If only the printing press had been invented, instead of doing all that labour-intensive hammering and chiseling medieval Banksy stuff, they could have simply sent each other a card.

Perhaps a Norman soldier going off to fight might have liked to open something like this:

keep calm 2

or maybe to settle the nerves, this would have done…

keep calm 3What do you think?


The Norman Nave:

The Norman Nave of St. Mary’s has hardly been altered since it was first built in the early 13th century. Here is a sketch of the floor plan:

church floor plan

and here is the real thing:

church nave

Victorian vandals:

Apparently the general fixtures and fittings which you can see in this photograph are the results of a frightful piece of well-intentioned but unfortunate vandalism on the part of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners who undertook a dramatic programme of ‘restoration’ in 1875. This seemed to involve  ripping out all sorts of things including a carved oak pulpit dating from Charles 1st’s reign. However, they left the 15th century  font alone (despite it having the most humungous crack all the way down) It is lined with lead and maybe they quailed before the thought of its weight.

Reverend Rosecomb stood just in front of the Chancel, under the arch, last Sunday to give out the notices. We now know that the Christingle service for the Sunday School infant attendees, will be held next Sunday at 16.00 hours.

Yours, steeped in ecclesiastical history,

LLH signature




  1. Surely “Keep Calm and Sharpen Your Halberds” would have been the message of choice. Being eclectic, we have have adopted the American practice of celebrating Thanksgiving on the forth Thursday of November so are anticipating a fine meal today. I am reminded that among other things in life I am thankful for this fine blog and its entertaining drawings. (Also much looking forward to the arrival of my postcards.)
    I hear the agent’s week-end catering business is flourishing with a very satisfied clientele. I feel a post on this with appropriate drawings is called for.

    • You are right- Hallmark missed a trick there.
      Thank you very much for your very kind words;the agent and I wish you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving.

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