Victorian restoration

St Albans Cathedral before and after restoration in 1880. The amateur architect Lord Grimthorpe's rebuilding of the west front destroyed the cathedral's perpendicular architectural features, replacing them with his own designs. These are considered unsympathetic to the fabric of the building, and were criticised by commentators even at the time.[1]


The Victorian restoration was the widespread and extensive refurbishment and rebuilding of Church of England churches and cathedrals that took place in England and Wales during the 19th-century reign of Queen Victoria. It was not the same process as is understood today by the term building restoration.

Against a background of poorly maintained church buildings; a reaction against the Puritan ethic manifested in the Gothic Revival; and a shortage of churches where they were needed in cities, the Cambridge Camden Society and the Oxford Movement advocated a return to a more medieval attitude to churchgoing. The change was embraced by the Church of England which saw it as a means of reversing the decline in church attendance.

The principle was to "restore" a church to how it might have looked during the "Decorated" style of architecture which existed between 1260 and 1360, and many famous architects such as George Gilbert Scott and Ewan Christian enthusiastically accepted commissions for restorations. It is estimated that around 80% of all Church of England churches were affected in some way by the movement, varying from minor changes to complete demolition and rebuilding.

Influential people like John Ruskin and William Morris were opposed to such large-scale restoration, and their activities eventually led to the formation of societies dedicated to building preservation, such as the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings. In retrospect, the period of Victorian restoration has been viewed in a generally unfavourable light.


Lich Cath Face
The west front of Lichfield Cathedral as restored by George Gilbert Scott

A number of factors working together led to the spate of Victorian restoration.

From the time of the English Reformation onwards, apart from necessary repairs so that buildings might remain in use, and the addition of occasional internal commemorative adornments, English churches and cathedrals were subjected to little building work and only piecemeal restoration. This situation lasted for about 250 years with the fabric of many churches and cathedrals suffering from neglect.[2][3] The severity of the problem was demonstrated when the spire of Chichester Cathedral suddenly telescoped in on itself in 1861.[4]

Bramhope Puritan Chapel - - 1603796
The unrestored interior of the Puritan Chapel, Bramhope, West Yorkshire

In addition, ever since the mid-17th century Puritan reforms which were typified by a minimum of ritual and decoration and by an unambiguous emphasis on preaching there had been an ongoing removal of any emotion or colour from English religious services as a means of distancing itself from what was seen as the excesses of Catholicism.[5] But towards the end of the 18th century the burgeoning Gothic Revival and interest in medievalism encouraged people to seek more interest in their religious services. The popularity of the Gothic Revival was seen by Church officials as a way to reverse the decline in church attendance, and thereby start to reassert the Church's power, prosperity and influence. They therefore pushed for massive restoration programs.[6]

As a third factor, the industrial revolution had resulted in many people living in cities that had few churches to cater for their religious needs—for instance Stockport had a population of nearly 34,000 but church seating for only 2,500.[7] The rise in dissenter denominations, such as Methodism and the Religious Society of Friends, was seen as further evidence of this shortfall.[8] To fulfil this need, between 1818 and 1824 the Government had granted £1.5 million for building new churches.[9] Known as Commissioners' churches, most of them cost only £4,000 to £5,000 each to build, and dissatisfaction with their indifferent design and cheap construction provoked a strong reaction.[10]

Equivalent movements existed in most of Europe, especially northern Europe, with the French architect and architectural historian Eugène Viollet-le-Duc especially associated with the French manifestation.

Driving forces

The Cambridge Camden Society

One of the main driving forces for the restoration of churches was the Cambridge Camden Society (CCS), which was founded in 1839 by two Cambridge undergraduates, John Mason Neale and Benjamin Webb, as a club for those who shared a common interest in Gothic church design.[12] It rapidly became popular: its membership increased from 8 to 180 in its first 12 months.[13] Although initially a society for recording and discussing medieval church features, the members of the CCS soon began to expostulate in their journal The Ecclesiologist and particularly in their Few Words to Church-builders of 1844 that the only "correct" form for a church building was the "middle pointed" or "Decorated" style,[14] in which churches had been built during the hundred years centred on 1300. Ecclesiology obviously struck a chord in society: it was closely linked with the ongoing interest in medievalism and the Gothic Revival.[15]

The CCS's firm insistence on one style being correct proved to be a beacon for those who were no longer able to judge for themselves what was "good" in architecture—the certainties of the Vitruvian rules having lost their power during the Romantic movement that had been in vogue since the middle of the 18th century.[16] The CCS stated that there were two possible ways in which a church could be restored. As Kenneth Clark put it, they said that one could "either restore each of the various alterations and additions in its own style, or restore the whole church to the best and purest style of which traces remain".[17] The Society wholeheartedly recommended the second option and since virtually every medieval church had at least some small remnant of decorated style, maybe a porch or even just a window, the whole church would be "restored" to match it. And if the earliest portions were too late, then it was a candidate for a complete rebuild in the "correct" style.[17]

"To restore," The Ecclesiologist declared, "is to revive the original appearance ... lost by decay, accident or ill-judged alteration". They did later admit, though, that such "restoration" might create an ideal state that the building had never been in.[18]

Oxford Movement

Church restorations were also strongly influenced by the Oxford Movement, which advocated moving the centre of importance in the church from preaching to the sacrament of the Eucharist: from the pulpit to the altar. Consequences of this included moving the pulpit from a more central position to the side of the church, replacing box pews with open pews, creating a central aisle to give a better view of the altar, and the removal of galleries. Another consequence was that a larger chancel was required for the associated ritual.[19]

St. Peter's, Berkhamsted - Nave - - 780233
The nave of St Peter's, Berkhampstead with Butterfield's restorations


Persuaded by the Cambridge Camden Society that Decorated Gothic was the only correct style, and by the Oxford Movement's theories concerning the nature of worship, a spate of "restoration" was soon under way. Some figures give an idea of the scale. A total of 3,765 new and rebuilt churches were consecrated in the forty years up to 1875, with the most active decade being the 1860s in which there were more than 1,000 such consecrations.[20] Over 7,000 parish churches in England and Wales — which is nearly 80% of all of them — were restored in some way between 1840 and 1875.[21] There were 150% more people identified as professional architects in the 1871 census than in 1851 — it is known that established architects passed small restoration jobs on to their newly qualified colleagues, since such work provided good practice.[22]

The retention of original material (carving, woodwork, etc.) tended to be of little importance to the early restorers: appearance was all, and much good old work was discarded to be replaced by modern replacement in the chosen style.[23] Different architects had different degrees of sympathy with original material, and as the century progressed greater care was generally taken;[24] this was at least partly as a result of the increasingly louder voices that were raised in opposition.[25]

As an example of the type of work undertaken in one church, in 1870–71 the Church of St Peter, Great Berkhamsted was the subject of a restoration programme by William Butterfield, whose other works included churches such as All Saints, Margaret Street in London. Butterfield's restoration involved the removal of some original features, including the obliteration of paintings on the pillars. The most substantial structural changes involved raising both the roof and the floor of the chancel, raising the roof of the south transept to its original pitch, removing the vestry, incorporating the south porch into the south aisle and removing the door, re-flooring the nave, installing new oak benches and replacing an earlier gallery. Butterfield also installed clear windows in the clerestory, allowing more light to enter the nave. He extended the aisles by knocking down the dividing walls of two chambers at the west end. On the exterior of the church, Butterfield removed the crumbling stucco that had been added in 1820 and re-faced the church walls with flint flushwork.[26][27]

At Lichfield Cathedral, the 18th century had been a period of decay: the 15th-century library was pulled down, most of the statues on the west front were removed, and the stonework covered with Roman cement. After some structural work early in the 19th century by James Wyatt, the ornate west front (pictured above) was restored by Sir George Gilbert Scott. It includes many ornate carved figures of kings, queens and saints, created from original materials where possible and new imitations and additions when the originals were not available. Wyatt's choir-screen had utilised medieval stone-work which Scott in turn used to create the clergy's seats in the sanctuary. A new metal screen by Francis Skidmore and John Birnie Philip to designs by Scott was installed, as was a Minton tile pavement stretching from choir screen to altar, inspired by medieval tiles found in the Choir foundations.[28]


Famous architects like George Gilbert Scott, Ewan Christian, William Butterfield and George Edmund Street became enthusiastic "restorers" and the wave of restoration spread across the country so that by 1875 something like 80% of all churches in England had been affected in some way.[21]

Bath Abbey Fan Vaulting - July 2006 crop
The nave of Bath Abbey – Scott's stone fan vaulting that replaced the ancient wooden ceiling to the original design by Robert and William Vertue.[29]

In 1850 Scott wrote a book A plea for the faithful restoration of our Ancient Churches, in which he stated that "as a general rule it is highly desirable to preserve those vestiges of the growth and history of buildings which are indicated by the various styles and irregularities of its parts". However he did not follow this principle in practice, generally sweeping away all later changes and reconstructing the church in a uniform early style, sometimes on the evidence of just one remaining early feature.[18]


There were opponents. The Reverend John Louis Petit was a staunch and well respected opponent from his first book, Remarks on Church Architecture (1841) until his death in 1868. The Archaeological Society was founded in 1845 by Antiquarians anxious to bring the love of old buildings to a wider audience. Although John Ruskin was generally in favour of new buildings in an early Gothic style,[30] in 1849 he wrote in The Seven Lamps of Architecture that it was not possible "to restore anything that has ever been great or beautiful in architecture". The Society of Antiquaries of London urged in 1855 that "no restoration should ever be attempted, otherwise than ... in the sense of preservation from further injuries".[18]

A later vociferous opponent was William Morris who campaigned against the proposed restoration of St John the Baptist Church, Inglesham in the 1880s and started the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) in 1877 when he heard of the proposed restoration of Tewkesbury Abbey by Scott.[24] The principles espoused by SPAB took some time to attract support, but the policy of putting "Protection in place of Restoration" eventually took hold, and are adhered to today.[18] Morris also wrote in 1877:

William Morris, who strongly opposed restoration

"But of late years a great uprising of ecclesiastical zeal, coinciding with a great increase of study, and consequently of knowledge of medieval architecture has driven people into spending their money on these buildings, not merely with the purpose of repairing them, of keeping them safe, clean, and wind and water-tight, but also of "restoring" them to some ideal state of perfection; sweeping away if possible all signs of what has befallen them at least since the Reformation, and often since dates much earlier."[31]

Despite his opposition, though, it is known that Morris profited greatly by his firm's provision of stained glass to many restoration projects,[32] and it has been noted that his criticism only started after his firm was securely established as a supplier to these projects.[33]

Further opposition came from evangelical Protestants, who believed that "ornamental carved work, decorative painting, encaustic tiles, and stained glass were foolish vanities which lead the heart astray",[34] and from others who were concerned about the cost: "For the cost of one stone church with a groined roof, or even an open timbered roof, two might be built in brick with plaster ceilings; and who could dare to say that worship in the plainer building would be less devout or sincere than that which was offered in the other?"[34][35]

Not all Catholics were in favour either: late in his life Cardinal Wiseman made it clear that his preference was for Renaissance art, as might be expected of a religious order of Italian origin.[36]

In retrospect

From a 20th-century perspective the process of Victorian restoration has often been viewed unfavourably, with terms such as "ruthless", "insensitive" and "heavy-handed" being commonly used to describe the work done.[38]

In the introduction to his book The Gothic Revival (first published in 1928), Kenneth Clark wrote "The real reason the Gothic Revival had been neglected is that it produced so little on which our eyes can rest without pain".[39] Clark also reckoned that Decorated Gothic was the worst of the three possible styles that could have been adopted—the others being Early English which had "very little detail which an ordinary craftsman could not manage", and Perpendicular which was "infinitely the most adaptable of medieval styles". Clark pointed out that Decorated was the most difficult to execute,[40] not least because of the complicated window tracery that set it apart from the other two Gothic styles.

However, not all restoration work was purely negative: a side effect of a number of restorations was the rediscovery of long-lost features, for instance Anglo-Saxon carving that had been incorporated into Norman foundations,[41] or wall-paintings that had been whitewashed over, at St Albans Cathedral.[42] It is also true to say that had they not been restored many churches would have fallen into disrepair.[43]


  1. ^ Perkins, Rev. Thomas (1903). The Cathedral Church of St Albans. London: George Bell & Sons.
  2. ^ Harvey, John (1961). English Cathedrals. Batsford.
  3. ^ Clifton-Taylor, Alec (1967). The Cathedrals of England. Thames and Hudson.
  4. ^ "Chichester Cathedral Spire". Chichester Cathedral Restoration and Development Trust. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
  5. ^ Mari 2010, p.66.
  6. ^ Mari 2010, p.7.
  7. ^ Port 2006, p.22.
  8. ^ Port 2006, pp.17–18, 24.
  9. ^ Mari 2010, p.30.
  10. ^ Clark 1962, pp.98, 107.
  11. ^ Quoted in Clark 1962, p.162.
  12. ^ Clark 1962, pp.155, 160–1.
  13. ^ Eastlake 1872, pp. 196–7.
  14. ^ Clark 1962, p.170–1.
  15. ^ Eastlake 1872, p.187.
  16. ^ Clark 1962, p.160.
  17. ^ a b Clark 1962, p.173.
  18. ^ a b c d "Architectural conservation and restoration – 1. Before c. 1800., 2. c. 1800–c. 1900 – Buildings, Monuments, and Building". Net Industries LLC. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
  19. ^ Price, James (1998), Sharpe, Paley and Austin: A Lancaster Architectural Practice 1836–1942, Lancaster: Centre for North-West Regional Studies, pp. 44–6, ISBN 1-86220-054-8
  20. ^ Brooks, Chris; Saint, Andrew (1995). "Introduction". The Victorian Church: Architecture and Society. Manchester University Press. p. 9. ISBN 0-7190-4019-1.
  21. ^ a b Mari 2010, p.34 quoting Miele 1995, p.156.
  22. ^ Miele 1995, p.159.
  23. ^ Clark 1962, pp.172–3, p.211; Mari 2010, p.3.
  24. ^ a b Albutt, Michael; Amison, Anne. "Victorian Wolverhampton: Churches and Religious Buildings. 1 – The Anglicans". Wolverhampton History and Heritage Website. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
  25. ^ Mari 2010, p.4.
  26. ^ Birtchnell, Percy (1960). A Short History of Berkhamsted. The Bookstack. pp. 30–32. ISBN 1-871372-00-3.
  27. ^ Hastie, Scott (1999). Berkhamsted: an Illustrated History. King's Langley: Alpine Press. pp. 100–102. ISBN 0-9528631-1-1.
  28. ^ "History – The 19th Century". Lichfield Cathedral. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
  29. ^ Luxford, Julian M (2000). "In Dreams: The sculptural iconography of the west front of Bath Abbey reassessed". Religion and the Arts. 4 (3): 314–336. doi:10.1163/156852901750359103.
  30. ^ Eastlake 1872, p.273.
  31. ^ William Morris, The Lesser Arts (1877), quoted in Mari 2010, pp.19–20.
  32. ^ Mari 2010, p.26.
  33. ^ Miele 1995, p.153.
  34. ^ a b Eastlake 1872, p. 190–1.
  35. ^ Landow, George P. "Charles L. Eastlake on Evangelical Protestant and Roman Catholic Resistance to the Gothic Revival". The Victorian Web. Retrieved 18 September 2011.
  36. ^ Eastlake 1872, p.347.
  37. ^ Betjeman, John (1959). Collected Poems. J. Murray.
  38. ^ See, for instance, Reed 1997, p.338: "Much of his [George Gilbert Scott's] restoration work was undoubtedly insensitive, heavy-handed, and ruthless"; and Smith, J. T.; North, M. A. (2003). St Albans, 1650–1700: a thoroughfare town and its people. University of Hertfordshire Press. p. 78. "... prior to a ruthless Victorian restoration ..."
  39. ^ Clark 1962, p.7.
  40. ^ Clark 1962, pp.171–2.
  41. ^ Bailey, Richard N. (2003). "What mean these Stones?: Some Aspects of pre-Norman Sculpture in Cheshire and Lancashire". In Donald Scragg. Textual and material culture in Anglo-Saxon England. Cambridge: D. S Brewer. p. 215. ISBN 0-85991-773-8.
  42. ^ Banerjee, Jacqueline. "St Albans Cathedral and Abbey Church, Hertfordshire: A Case History in Victorian Restoration". The Victorian Web. Retrieved 21 September 2011.
  43. ^ Reed 1997, p.338.


  • Victorian Churches blog:
All Saints' Church, Brixworth

All Saints' Church, Brixworth, in Northamptonshire, is an outstanding example of early Anglo-Saxon architecture in central England. In 1930 Sir Alfred Clapham called it "perhaps the most imposing architectural memorial of the 7th century yet surviving north of the Alps". It is the largest English church that remains substantially as it was in the Anglo-Saxon era.

Badlesmere, Kent

Badlesmere is a village and civil parish in the Swale district of Kent, England, and about five miles south of Faversham.

It was once called Basmere.

There has been a recorded settlement (under the name 'Badelesmere') as far back as the Domesday Book. Which also mentioned that in the time of King Edward the Confessor, the parish was worth sixty shillings. The manor was previously owned by Odo, Earl of Kent (as the Bishop of Bayeux), but following his trial (for fraud) in 1076 his assets were re-apportioned, including Badlesmere. The abbot of St. Augustine's then claimed this manor.During the reign of King Richard I (1157–1199), the manor was held by 'Guncelin de Badlesmere', who had accompanied the king during his Siege of Acon in Palestine. The manor passed through several generations of the Badlesmere family, including, Gunselm de Badlesmere (Justice of Chester and Cheshire 1232 – 1301) and 'Bartholomew de Badlesmere' (governor of Leeds Castle) after November 1317). He then obtained the king's licence to found a Priory on his lands. But nothing came to this licence.In 1523, Sir Thomas Randolph (an eminent statesman during the reign Queen Elizabeth I), was born here.The church, dedicated to St Leonard, is a grade II* listed Anglican church, described as "interesting as a small, quite unremarkable church" which was not 'restored' in the Victorian era. Its interior is 13th century and 18th century. It has a complete set of Georgian box pews. In 1887, J.C.L. Stahlschmidt reported that the bell hanging in the church was one of those made in 1635 by Joseph Hatch for St Mary's Church, Reculver; the church at Reculver was demolished in 1809.The village green, known as Badlesmere Lees, lies off the main road between the towns of Faversham and Ashford.

The parish has been linked for many years with that of Leaveland, whose mediaeval church, which is very different from Badlesmere. It has a crown-post roof and a 16th-century monument to a local family survived the Victorian restoration.

Badlesmere is also a word used in The Meaning of Liff (book by Douglas Adams) to define "Someone who dishonestly ticks the "I have read the terms and conditions" box on a website".


Bishopsteignton is a village and civil parish in South Devon, England between Newton Abbot and Teignmouth, close to the Teign Estuary. The village is on a steep hill, and has a post office, small pharmacy and a small, family-run village shop. The village school has about 180 pupils. The electoral ward had a population of 2,570 at the 2011 census.


The village has three churches - one gospel hall (Plymouth Brethren), one Methodist and one Anglican - St John The Baptist, with a fine Norman doorway which survived Victorian restoration. Among the tombstones are some who were victims of plague, and above the churchyard are the remains of a 14th-century sanctuary chapel built by John Grandisson, Bishop of Exeter to provide a refuge for felons who had accepted life banishment, as they travelled from Exeter to sail from Teignmouth.The village has four pubs: The Old Commercial, The Old Workshop, the Ring of Bells and the Cockhaven Arms. It also has a local brewery called Red Rock based behind the Old Workshop pub, the Old Walls Vineyard and Shute Fruit and Produce, a pick your own field.

There is a small beach on the estuary, known locally as Down Steps, The River Beach or Red Rock. It is reached via a footpath from the village that crosses the main Teignmouth to Newton Abbot road and the railway, and goes down the steep Luxton Steps. This ancient footpath leads to the point where villagers could ford the river at low tide to reach Coombe Cellars.

Half a mile away is the Bishop's Palace, now a ruin (hence the local name of the Old Walls), that was built in the 13th century by Walter de Bronescombe, and expanded later by Grandisson. It is an example of small and compact bishop's palace and the remains include an inner and an outer court plus substantial buried remains. The site is a scheduled monument.The civil parish also includes the hamlet of Ashwell, half a mile west of the village, and the village of Luton, 2 miles north of Bishopsteignton.

Church of St Leonard, Rodney Stoke

The Church of St Leonard in Rodney Stoke, Somerset, England, was built around 1175 and is a Grade I listed building.The interior of the church contains a screen, bearing the date 1624, the gift of Sir Edward Rodney, which includes a representation of the martyrdom of St Erasmus, who was killed by having his entrails removed.The church underwent Victorian restoration in the 1870s when a slow combustion stove was installed in a pit in the floor.The parish is part of the Rodney Stoke with Draycott benefice which is within the Axbridge deanery.

Duntisbourne Abbots

Duntisbourne Abbots is a village and civil parish located in the English county of Gloucestershire.

Duntisbourne Abbots forms part of the Cotswold District.

The Five Mile House is a 17th-century Grade II listed public house at Old Gloucester Road. It is on the Campaign for Real Ale's National Inventory of Historic Pub Interiors.St Peter's Church in the village was built in the 12th century, on the site of an earlier, Saxon, church. Its tower dates from Norman times, and has belfry lights of pierced stone lattice work that date from the 13th century. Inside the church, the font also dates from Norman times, while the unusual chancel arch dates from an extensive Victorian restoration.It also features in the title of µ-Ziq's 2007 album Duntisbourne Abbots Soulmate Devastation Technique.


Frithelstock (pronounced Frizzlestock) is a village, civil parish and former manor in Devon, England. It is located within Torridge local authority area and formed part of the historic Shebbear hundred. The parish is surrounded, clockwise from the north, by the parishes of Monkleigh, Great Torrington, Little Torrington, Langtree and Buckland Brewer. In 2001 its population was 366, down from 429 in 1901.The name derives from the Anglo-Saxon Frithulac's Stocc. The ruins of Frithelstock Priory are adjacent to the north east side of the parish church of St Mary and St Gregory, and represent the only substantial remains of a monastic house in Devon.As of 2013 the village had one public house, the Clinton Arms. The parish church of St. Mary & St. Gregory was enlarged in the 15th century and underwent a Victorian restoration in about 1870.

Greensted Church

Greensted Church, in the small village of Greensted, near Chipping Ongar in Essex, England, is the oldest wooden church in the world, and probably the oldest wooden building in Europe still standing, albeit only in part, since few sections of its original wooden structure remain. The oak walls are often classified as remnants of a palisade church or a kind of early stave church, dated either to the mid-9th or mid-11th century.

The Grade I listed building lies about a mile west of Chipping Ongar town centre. Its full title is The Church of St Andrew, Greensted-juxta-Ongar. It is, however, commonly known simply as Greensted Church. Greensted is still a functioning church and holds services every week. The volume of tourist visits is light, but steady. The church was featured on a British postage stamp issued in 1972.


Horninghold is a small village and parish seven miles north-east of Market Harborough in the county of Leicestershire.

Following the Norman Conquest in 1066 the village was given to Robert de Todeni, Lord of Belvoir. In about 1076 he gave the parish to the priory of Belvoir where it remained until the Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 16th century. The population of the civil parish (including Allexton and Stockerston) was 316 at the 2011 census. At the beginning of the 20th century, the estate owners, the Hardcastle family remodelled the village as a garden village with many trees and shrubs. The church of St Peter was built in the 12th century and is a surviving example of a parish church without Victorian restoration.

Langton, Lincolnshire

Langton is a village and civil parish in the East Lindsey district of Lincolnshire, England. It is situated 1.5 miles (2.4 km) west from the town of Horncastle.

The village church is a Grade II listed building dedicated to St Margaret, and is a small structure built of greenstone, limestone and red brick. The original church on the site was

medieval. It was restored in 1750 and subjected to Victorian restoration in 1890 by W Scorer. Foundations of a tower can be seen on the outside of the west wall.Langton Windmill was built of red brick in 1861, and ceased working in 1936.

Lichfield Cathedral

Lichfield Cathedral is situated in Lichfield, Staffordshire, England. It is the only medieval English cathedral with three spires. The Diocese of Lichfield covers all of Staffordshire, much of Shropshire and part of the Black Country and West Midlands. The 99th and current Bishop of Lichfield is Michael Ipgrave who was appointed on 10 June 2016.

Llanfwrog, Denbighshire

Llanfwrog is a village in Denbighshire, in northern Wales. It hosts a church and a pub, The Cross Keys


Church of St Mwrog and St Mary

The sturdy medieval tower of St Mwrog’s crowns the hill west of Ruthin, marking the point where town gives way to countryside.‘Double-naved’ in the distinctive Clwydian style, the church is basically late medieval,but was much altered by Victorian restoration. The church was again restored in 1999 There are fine views from the circular ‘Celtic’ churchyard – St Mwrog was a little known Welsh saint, perhaps from Anglesey. On a rise to the south by the road to Efenechtyd stands an ancient thatched and whitewashed house (private).Church generally open daily, mid morning to late afternoon. Further information and opening times from

Diocesan Office, High Street, St Asaph, LL17 0RD Phone number: 01745 582245

Merton, Devon

Merton is a village, ecclesiastical parish, former manor and civil parish administered by the local government district of Torridge, Devon, England. The parish, which lies about five miles south east of the town of Great Torrington, is surrounded clockwise from the north by the parishes of Little Torrington, Beaford, Dolton, Huish, Petrockstowe and Peters Marland. In 2001 its population was 331, down from the 507 residents it had in 1901. The eastern and northern boundaries of the parish follow the loops of the River Torridge and the other sides are defined by the River Mere. The village forms part of the electoral ward of Clinton. The population at the 2011 census was 1,537.The village is on the A386 road between Meeth and Great Torrington. The parish church, on the west side of the village, is dedicated to All Saints and dates from around 1400. It suffered a heavy Victorian restoration between 1872 and 1875 by R. M. Fulford, but the east window of the north chapel retains many fragments of late medieval stained glass. Speccot, Dunsbear and Potheridge were estates mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086.


Quainton (formerly Quainton Malet) is a village and civil parish in Aylesbury Vale district in Buckinghamshire, England, 7 miles (11 km) north west of Aylesbury. The population is 1290, of whom 1000 are adults. The village has two churches (Anglican and Baptist), a school and one public house. The location means that while many commute to London, others are employed in neighbouring towns and villages.

Its name is Old English and means Queen's Estate (cwen tun). It is not known to which queen this refers, but possibly the Queen was Edith, the wife of Edward the Confessor. Known as "Fair Edith" she held manors in this part of Buckinghamshire, including a hunting lodge at Mentmore. Edward the Confessor had a palace at nearby Brill.

The former suffix Malet refers to the Malet family who were lords of the manor from 1066 until about 1348. At least one member went on the crusades, and had associations with the Hospitallers, the organization credited with rebuilding Quainton church circa 1340. The Hospitallers erected the cross on the village green, the base and shaft of which still remain.

The village green in the centre of the village has grouped around it some of the half-timbered thatched cottages for which the village is known.

The parish church is dedicated to St Mary and the Holy Cross. It is a 14th-century building of the style of gothic architecture known as Decorated. The west tower was built later in the 15th century. The church contains many memorial brasses and sculpture, including the 1689 tomb of Sir Richard Winwood carved by Thomas Stayner. The stone effigies depict the deceased lying in full armour, while his widow, Ann, who paid for the tomb, rests beside him, half sitting regarding her husband. In the chancel are a reredos and sedilia by William White who was responsible for the heavy Victorian restoration and rebuilding of the chancel in 1877. The church also contains Victorian stained glass windows. Richard Brett, a former rector of Quainton and one of the translators of the King James Version of the Bible, is buried in the chancel.Close by the church is the former rectory, a large house described by Pevsner as of vitreous red brick. The principal facade has a three–bayed centre and two canted bays. The house contains 16th-century linenfold panelling.

The Winwood Almshouses, still inhabited, were built to house the poor, their gothic style of architecture belying the construction date of 1687. They are a terrace of eight small cottages, one storey high with a row of dormers in the attics. These attic windows have alternating small and large gables. The terrace is decorated by two porches, with a plaque above. The almshouses are further adorned by diagonally placed chimney stacks.

One of the most visible buildings is the 70 ft high Quainton Windmill, built in 1830–32. Derelict for the greater part of the 20th century it was restored in 1997 and can grind wheat into flour. Further restoration continues.

The local headquarters for the RSPCA are in the parish, outside the village.

Quainton has a mix of old and new dwellings.


Shirwell is a village, civil parish and former manor in the local government district of North Devon, in the county of Devon, England. It was also formerly the name of a hundred of Devon. The village lies about 3.5 miles north-east of the town of Barnstaple, to the east of the A39 road to Lynton. The parish is surrounded clockwise from the north by the parishes of East Down, Arlington, Loxhore, Bratton Fleming, Goodleigh, Barnstaple, West Pilton and Marwood. In 2001 its population was 333, little changed from the 1901 figure of 338.The parish church in the village is the church of St Peter which has 13th-century origins while the chancel is of 14th-century date. It underwent a Victorian restoration by the architect William White between 1873 and 1889. An effigy in the chancel is said to be of Blanche St. Leger (d.1483) and above this is a monument to Lady Anne Chichester (d. 1723). Other 18th-century monuments survive in the church. Here also is a memorial plaque to the aviator and sailor Sir Francis Chichester, who was born in the Rectory in the village.

St Andrew's Church, Presteigne

St Andrew's Church is a Church of England parish church in Presteigne, Powys, Wales. It was first constructed in the 9th century by the Anglo-Saxons and retains elements of the original Anglo-Saxon church within a Norman renovation and later Victorian restoration. It is a Grade I listed building.

St George's Church, Stamford

St George's Church is a Grade I listed building in Stamford, Lincolnshire, England.A major benefactor of the church was William Bruges (1375–1450), first Garter King of Arms who is buried in the church. St George's claims to be the original church of the Order of the Garter. Originally the chancel contained a series of seven windows containing portraits of the Knights of the Garter, but little remains apart from a collection of garter panes in the north chancel window and a few fragments in the south window including the centre panes of St Catherine and St Anne.The church's exterior has remained unchanged from its original 15th-century exterior except its tower which was rebuilt in the 17th century. The interior of the church was subject to Victorian restoration when pews were removed, a new pulpit built, and the floor re-laid. In the south aisle there is a Hugh Arnold stained glass window (1909) to the memory of architect John Charles Traylen.

St John Clerkenwell

St John Clerkenwell is a former parish church in Clerkenwell, London, its original priory church site retains a crypt and has been given over to the London chapel of the modern Order of St John. It is a square, light-brick resurrection of the small church of Clerkenwell Priory — the crypt of which is beneath — without a spire or tower. Its three centuries of former decline reflected the disbandment of the medieval Order of St John, or Knights Hospitaller.

St Tewdric's Church

St Tewdric's Church is a Church in Wales parish church in Mathern, Monmouthshire, Wales. It is purportedly built over the resting place of Saint Tewdrig for whom it is named. A church has been located on the site since the 6th century. It was reconstructed by the Normans in the Early English style, and later was renovated by the Victorians. It is a Grade I listed building.

Standon, Hertfordshire

Standon is a village and civil parish in Hertfordshire, England. The parish includes the adjoining village of Puckeridge. The village church of St Mary has Saxon origins with much Victorian restoration. It contains the ornate tomb of the Tudor courtier Sir Ralph Sadler.

The Prime Meridian passes to the west of Standon.

The place-name is first attested in a Saxon charter of 944-6 AD and means 'stony hill'.

Standon village has many local facilities. In addition to the church, there is a village hall, two public houses, a Chinese restaurant, post office, butcher, baker, and newsagent. Villagers also make frequent use of facilities in neighbouring Puckeridge, which include a pharmacy, estate agent, petrol station, public houses, doctor's surgery and primary schools (including St Thomas of Canterbury, a Roman Catholic primary school).

Arthur Martin-Leake, one of only three men to be awarded the Victoria Cross twice, was born in the village.

The Standon Calling music festival is held in the village.

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