图书图片
PDF
ePub

Earl of Harcourt, "Although his description be ludicrous and witty, it is in almost every particular incorrect; the situation of the several buildings being exactly the reverse of that in which they stood, as is demonstrated by a still existing plan" —it is not, therefore, worth while to quote any part of it.

The church, which stands contiguous to the site of the old mansion, is an unusually fine one, and merits careful regard; indeed it would not be easy for a student of ecclesiastical architecture to select a village church that it would be more instructive to study in detail. It is cruciform, and has a massive tower of handsome proportions springing from the intersection of the arms of the cross. The several parts are of very different dates, but their union does not appear incongruous—the modern deformities having been recently swept away. The nave is Norman, of the twelfth century, not greatly enriched, the two plain doorways on the north and south sides of it being the leading features. Through the principal door the men enter the church on Sundays, the female part of the congregation more meekly entering by another lesser door, at a little distance from it, according to "a custom established there time immemorial." The wooden roof to the nave is believed to have been added in the fourteenth century. The chancel, the transepts, and the tower arches are of the thirteenth century; the upper part of the tower was, probably, added in the fifteenth century. The chancel is a very pure specimen of the early English style of architecture, and of large dimensions for so small a church; these dimensions being forty-four feet long by eighteen wide, the nave

[graphic]

being only forty-eight by twenty-three feet; making, with the space between the arches on which the tower is supported, the entire internal length of the church one hundred and nine feet. The transepts are each twenty-four feet by twenty. At the east end of the chancel is a fine triple lancet window, united on the outside by a string-course, and within splayed so as to appear a single window of three lights. On the north side there are six smaller lancet-windows, divided into triplets; on the south side there is but one triplet, the other having been destroyed to make way for the Hartcourt chapel. The Harcourt aisle or chapel was erected about the same time as the mansion, and is a not ungraceful example of the enriched Perpendicular style of the time of Henry VII. On the exterior it is surmounted by an open quatrefoil parapet and square-topped pinnacles. It was designed, and is still used, as the burial-place of the Harcourt family.

The north transept has an open timber roof, of the fourteenth or fifteenth century. Originally there were two altars on the east side of this transept; they are gone, but the altar platforms, and a piscina near them, remain to mark their position. The south transept corresponded in all respects to the north; but was greatly altered to suit its union with the Harcourt chapel.

Inside the church are many objects interesting to the archaeologist. The rood-screen which separates the chancel is of oak, and perfect. In its carvings it agrees both in style and execution with thechancel arch; and is believed to be the earliest wooden rood-screen in England. Some of the monuments in this church have attracted much attention, especially a small altar-tomb, about four feet long by two feet wide, and having a tall and very richly ornamented canopy over it, on the cornice of which are shields of many noble families, retaining, with the canopy, much of the original colouring; the tomb itself, also, has several shields supported by figures in the costume of the reign of Edward I. It stands on the north side of the altar, from which, and from the emblems of the Crucifixion being sculptured on it, it has been conjectured to have been employed for the Easter sepulchre. No other instance of an altar-tomb useJ for that purpose is known in this country, but it is said some have been noticed on the Continent. The Harcourt chapel, also, contains a monument in its way almost unique. It is engraved in Gough's 'Sepulchral Monuments' (vol. ii. pt. 3, p. 229), where it is thus described: "This monument of Sir Robert Harcourt, of that place. Knight of the Garter, ancestor of the Earl of Harcourt; and Margaret his wife, daughter of Sir John Byron of Clayton, Lancashire, Knight, ancestor of Lord Byron. He was sheriff of Lancashire and Warwickshire, 1445; elected Knight of the Garter 1463; commissioned with Richard Neville, Earl of Warwick, and others, to treat of a peace between Edward IV. and Louis XI. of France, 1467; and was slain on the part of the House of York, by the Staffords of the Lancastrian party, November 14, 1472. His figure represents him in his hair, gorget of mail, plated armour strapped at the elbows and wrists; large hilted sword at left side, dagger at right, his belt charged with oak leaves, hands bare, a kind of ruffle turned back at his wrists, shoes of scaled armour, order of the Garter on left leg, and over all the mantle of the Garter, with a rich cape and cordon; his head reclines on a helmet with his crest, a swan; at his feet a lion. His lady, habited in the veil head-dress falling back, has a mantle, and surcoat, and cordon, and a kind of short apron, long sleeves fastened in a singular manner at the waist {wrist), and the order of the Garter round her left arm; her feet are partly wrapped up in her mantle." On the effigy of Sir Robert is ,a remarkable collar of alternate roses and suns, which Gough appears to have overlooked, and which is very ill-represented in his engraving; it is more accurately engraved by Skelton. Valuable as the figure of the knight is as illustrating the costume of his time, it is that of the lady which is especially noteworthy, being one of the two existing examples of female sepulchral effigies, represented with the insignia of the order of the Garter. The other is that of Alice, Duchess of Suffolk, in the church of Ewelme, also in Oxfordshire, and only a few miles from our river. On Lady Alice the Garter has no motto, and is worn above the wrist; that at Stanton-Harcourt is placed above the elbow, and has the motto engraven on it. A third example is said to have been that of Constance, the lady of Sir John Grey, figured on the monument of her brother Thomas Mowbray, Duke of Norfolk, in St. Katherine's by the Tower, London. But the figure was too much mutilated to enable it to be recognised, long before the church, as well as the monument, was removed to make way for St. Katherine's Docks. Some other monuments, both in the chapel and in the body of the church, are deserving of notice. One has some lines, of little merit, by Congreve, and

VOL. I. D

« 上一页继续 »