Melchbourne Road, Knotting, MK44 1AF
A rector defrocked for betting and cock fighting
Show full description
This small church, tucked into the north Bedfordshire landscape is a quintessential vision of the English rural church. It is likely that the church served as the chapel of the nearby manor (long since vanished) and it was once described by Pevsner as 'parabolic and barbaric’.
The church has a fine Norman chancel arch, a 13th-century south transept, and a tower that was probably added in 1615.
The spiked chancel gates were built in 1637 by order of Archbishop Laud to stop the chancel being used for betting and cock fighting – a pastime for which the rector of the day was defrocked!
There is also an interesting collection of 17th-century furnishings and fittings, including an unusual 17th-century two-decker pulpit with tester.
In the churchyard stands a World War 1 memorial to the men of Knotting, which was erected on the base of a Medieval cross.
St Margaret of Antioch was vested in the CCT in 2009 - a 40th birthday present with a difference!
Opening times on the CCT website
Jesus Lane, Cambridge, CB5 8BP
A spectacularly colourful and decorated triumph of Victorian art and design
All Saints’ stands opposite the gates of Jesus College in the heart of Cambridge, its pale stone spire a prominent city landmark.
It was built in the 1860s to the plans of the famous 19th-century architect G.F. Bodley, and is a triumph of Victorian art and design. The simple wooden door opens into a dramatic blast of colour and pattern.
Light gleams through stained-glass windows, designed by leading Arts and Crafts artists, including William Morris, Edward Burne-Jones and Ford Madox Brown.
What's more, almost every surface has painted, stencilled or gilded decoration. Pomegranates burst with seeds; flowers run riot over the walls.
There is a glorious painting of Christ, Mary and St John, with throngs of angels. The north aisle features three fine windows by C.E. Kempe and Co (1891-1923) together with glass by Douglas Strachan.
Fittings designed by Bodley include the alabaster font, the pulpit and the oak aisle screen.
Castle Hill, Cambridge, CB3 0AJ
Saxon mermen in the smallest church in Cambridge
The tiny, tall-spired St Peter’s is tucked away in a quiet corner of Cambridge with ancient trees in the churchyard.
This simple building is a haven of tranquillity from the busy streets around it. It was originally built in the 11th-century, and traces of its Saxon past survive in the form of two lovely carved doorways and the stone font, decorated with four mermen grasping their split tails. Mermen may have an ancient link to St Peter, patron saint of fishermen.
The church was rebuilt in Georgian times, and is a simple, elegant gem of a building. There is a charming weathervane outside with the initials AP on it; these are said to be those of Andrew Perne, an 18th-century Dean of Ely.
With the homely domestic architecture of the neighbouring houses, including Kettle’s Yard Museum next door, and the quaint buildings of the Cambridge Folk Museum nearby, this corner of Cambridge has an almost rural feel, in contrast to the grandeur of the city's more famous sights.
Little Hormead, Buntingford, SG9 0LS
A 1,000-year-old haven of tranquillity displaying wonderful craftsmanship
Some churches have an atmosphere disproportionate to their size, and so it is with St Mary’s, a tiny church in a churchyard encircled by trees, frothy with white blossom in spring.
A grand Norman chancel arch links the 11th-century nave to the 13th-century chancel. This is a rare and precious survival with wonderful craftsmanship in wood and ironwork.
Amongst the wealth of interest here are an exquisitely carved 14th-century font and an unusual set of Charles II Royal Arms dating from 1660.
There are also two Norman doorways – the original door of one of these, made with wood and ironwork over 1,000 years old, stands preserved inside the church.
Ancient timbers survive in the roofs and support a later bellturret, containing two bells which may well have rung out over this beautiful area of agricultural north-east Hertfordshire for at least 600 years.
Maddermarket, Norwich, NR2 1DS
A 500-year old city church with explosive history.
The handsome flint tower of St John's rises above Maddermarket in the city centre. The best view of it is from the north, where its tower stands over Maddermarket Alley, affording one of the city’s most attractive townscapes.
The present church was built in the 15th-century when Norwich was one of the wealthiest cities of Europe. Squeezed ingeniously into a cramped site, St John’s is rather oddly proportioned, being almost as wide as it is long.
It is believed that an original chancel may have been demolished as part of a road-widening scheme when Queen Elizabeth I came to visit Norwich. It survived a gas explosion in 1876 during a choir practice that stunned the rector, singed the choirboys and shattered windows and furniture.
Today’s sumptuous stained-glass windows are Victorian and 20th-century replacements and the close set windows in the upper level flood the church with light. The church’s square interior is filled with marvellous monuments, from elegant plaques to detailed little figures in Tudor dress including one to Nugent Monk who founded the nearby Maddermarket Theatre and was one of the earliest people to recreate a Shakespearean stage in the 1920s.
All around are rich furnishings -– part of an interesting and eccentric collection assembled by William Busby (rector from 1898 to 1923). He sought out, or commissioned, a whole variety of items to beautify his church, including the magnificent Georgian canopy over the high altar and the altar screen in the lady chapel.
St John's is one of three Trust churches in Norwich.
Church Street, East Bradenham, Thetford, IP25 7QL
A Simply furnished and gloriously lit church
St Mary’s stands at the end of a small lime-tree avenue, above the road and at the east end of the long village.
The bold, buttressed flint-and-stone Medieval church is set in a grassy churchyard. It is simply furnished and gloriously lit, with several lovely memorials to local people.
The powerful tower is Perpendicular, but the rest is 14th-century and earlier. The round clerestory windows with quatrefoil tracery are unusual, and the figures on the Greene monument gaze towards their house long demolished.
The chamber organ is by Samuel Green and is dated 1786.
St Ann's Street, Kings Lynn, PE30 1NH
Nine centuries of treasures in the largest chapel in England.
From the tip of its 19th-century spire to its Norman foundations, everything about this town centre church is dazzling. Light floods from its magnificent windows into the interior. The vividly coloured picture panels to the east depict 32 scenes from the life of Jesus.
Monuments from the 17th- and 18th-centuries, some with startlingly life-like painted figures, celebrate King's Lynn's seamen, merchants, mayors and shopkeepers and illustrate the town's long history as a busy commercial centre and port. Among these monuments is a marble urn designed by famous Scottish architect, Robert Adam.
The carved woodwork was of such quality that some of it is now in the V&A Museum, but in the Medieval stalls you can still see a collection of creatures that make the green man look tame. Up in the 15th-century wooden roof, carved angels with outstretched wings sing and play musical instruments. One holds a recorder –- the earliest ever portrayal of the instrument in church carving.
At your feet is a fantastic collection of ledger stones including one dedicated to Robinson Cruso.
The consistory court in the north-west corner of the chapel is a very rare survival. This dates from 1617 and was where the Archdeacon would judge cases relating to church law.
Church Lane, Stonham Parva, Stowmarket, IP14 5JL
A Medieval flintwork church with a splendid double hammerbeam roof
Spectacular and airy, this Medieval flintwork church lies behind the village and beside the Old Hall, now a farm.
The church has a tower with parapets accented with slender pinnacles. The nave and chancel are impressively high and inside the double hammerbeam nave roof is a splendid example Medieval craftsmanship.
Church Lane, Claydon, Ipswich, IP6 0EQ
Saxon church with wonderful views over the Gipping Valley
On a commanding site above the Gipping Valley, St Peter’s was commissioned by eccentric High Church rector, George Drury.
It is stunning, full of vibrant stained glass and extravagant carvings. Drury himself was responsible for the design of the stained glass in the east and west windows and he may also have carved some of the stonework.
The surviving 19th-century fittings are all of high quality and also bear the stamp of Father Drury’s personality.
Email a friend
More Properties In East of England