Saturday, 15 March 2014

St James Avebury

I have to admit the church did not fill me with much enthusiasm when I went inside but it could be that I had the camera settings wrong and only realised what was wrong when I got home. Looking into the history the church  dates from around 1000AD and no doubt there were Christians trying to convert the heathens before that only to be push out or killed. The church sits outside the Avebury Henge beside the Manor house and is worth stopping off to look round.

 Here we look over the wall from the drive down leading to Avebury Manor

The main entrance to the church is through this Lychgate erected  in 1899

Here we look at the Belltower on St James  where in the corner you can see an interesting piece of stone which was pointed out by one of the National Trust Volunteers

This piece of stone is thought to come from a Celtic cross and was used to form part of the north aisle

St James at Avebury set in its Churchyard

These two war graves are hidden under a Yew tree in the Churchyard

Part of the North side Churchyard

Here we look along the churchyard on the south side of the church

Wandering round you see some interesting headstones & tombs

like this large chest Tomb

even inside the church you can see a 13th or 14th century stone coffin which  is believed to be that of a prior from the adjacent Benedictine Priory. It is at the back of the church near the font

Turn round & look down the nave towards the Rood Screen
I found this on a website about the rood screen so is it copied from there.
One of the glories of this church is the 15th century rood loft, originally used to house the Great Rood, or large crucifix, the most revered object in the early church. In the top rail to the loft parapet are the original 17 sockets that held candles that were kept burning to light the Rood. The Rood would have been destroyed after the Reformation and the loft and screen were removed, probably following an order of 1561 from Elizabeth I. Normally the timber would have been reused but almost uniquely the Avebury church managed to hide and preserve their rood loft. The timbers were stacked against the east wall of the nave, above the chancel arch, and covered with a lath and plaster wall. This was a very risky business for all concerned but the secret was well kept and the timbers were not discovered until 1810. The rood loft was restored in the 1878 - 1884 renovations, and the loft parapet repainted with matching colours to those noted on the woodwork by the architect, Charles E. Ponting. A new panelled screen was provided below with paintings of the apostles, set against gilded fields, in the lower panels.
 I have to admit it is quite magnificent to look at.

This is one of the painted panels on the rood screen

To the left of the screen is a carved wooden pulpit

 Inside Chancel is quite impressive

The altar has a painted wooden panel.

which I have to say  looks very impressive

Even the chancel window does the place justice though I did take this useing flash

This is one of the panels beside the Altar

The tub font is thought to be Saxon in origin while done in the chancel you can see some wall memorials

This is opposit the stone coffin and is an old  bell oak frame dated 1636

Some magnificent  coats of alms like this or heraldic hatchments
as they are called

and This Royal Arms are those of George III, used before 1801

 Above the entrance door is the roll of honour for those who fell in both wars.
I will be returning here at sometime and will take more photos but for now I hope you enjoy what I have shown. You can read more history on the church here
Have a Peaceful Sunday.
Taking part in Taphophile Tragics & Cemetery Sunday


  1. «Louis» always looks forward to your inSPIREd Sunday posts. The story of the rood screen in this church is particularly interesting.

    Today «Louis» has posted a third St. Mark's Lutheran Church, this one in San Francisco, a survivor of both the 1906 and 1989 earthquakes.

  2. gorgeous lighting ... what a perfect time of the day to capture this beauty. i would have to agree with you - i love the inside ... but i would say i prefer the beauty of the outside best. but seriously i would love to see it in person ... that would be awesome. the american churches just don't have the character that you side of the river do have. or could you say ocean ... any who ... i know you know what i mean. ha. ha!! ( :

  3. I can't believe the history of this place! And what a fine tour that you gave us!

  4. This church is magnificent! I am particularly awed by the Rood Loft and the painted wooden panels. Loved the history of the Rood Loft and how if was preserved. My goodness, how lovely the entire church is! Fabulous post!

  5. a fabulous tour!
    much to admire and inspire - thank you!

  6. Goodness Bill you are too hard on yourself, these are super shots. Loved the details of the Rood Screen and what an interesting tale to its survival.. Enjoy these trips with you very much..
    P.s. There may be mermaids out there Bill, you just might not have spotted them :)