Englefield History

The Nave

 

Like the chancel, the nave was restored in 1855-7 with the lancet windows replacing the old square-headed ones. The new gothic style chancel arch would certainly have displaced the Royal Arms, prominently displayed in most churches from late in the reign of Henry VIII until that time. These were mostly removed from their place over the chancel arch during mid-Victorian restoration. Other local churches still have displaced copies on display but none are to be found at Englefield. Even if any were still in existence in 1884 they may well not have survived the incumbency of the Reverend Arthur Heigham. In about 1867 when Rector at Newport Pagnell he removed the Royal Arms from above the chancel arch because they signified the primacy of state over church but was forced to replace them after a public outcry of disapproval.

 

The walls of the nave formerly were painted a dark colour below a plaster dado and had a painted frieze. Some of this can be seen in the old photo to the right but none exists today. This picture, of unknown date, shows some of the wall decoration and one of the pictures of the Stations of the Cross. In the chancel window can be seen the decorated glass replaced with plain glass in 1936. This obviously a different funeral to the one shown in another picture for the lectern is in place and the flag is the colour of the Girl Guides, dedicated on 22 May 1932. It is probably the funeral of James Herbert Benyon in 1935.

 

The Victorian glazing in the two north windows of the nave was replaced in 1967 by stained glass designed by MC Farrer-Bell to the memory of Sir Henry and Lady Benyon. The window in the west wall is, according to Pevsner, from the Whitefirars Glass workshop of James Powell and Sons and is in memory of the three children of Francis Eyre, Rector from 1855 until 1869 but a Minister at St Mark's probably since at least 1825.

 

The head of the doorway in the north wall that now leads to the choir vestry is early 13th century so this was probably an original entrance, perhaps a so-called “devil’s door” that was traditionally placed on the north side of the church and left open during important ceremonies like baptism to permit him to leave.  The rest of the doorway, though, is modern and the door itself probably dates from 1907 when the choir vestry was added.

 

On the north wall, between the two vestry doors are two boards giving details of two charities: the Pottenger bequest and the Apprentice Fund. The boards are on hinged mountings and when folded out from the wall reveal portions of the Ten Commandments on the reverse so they may have been cut from an old Puritan-era reredos. This space was formerly occupied by a small triptych being a copy of Jan Van Eyck's Adoration of the Mystic Lamb.

 

The whole roof of the church was replaced in stages between 1855 and 1856 though some of the original timbers were reused. The new roof of the nave was plastered in between the rafters and in August 1896 some of this plaster fell but fortunately the church was unoccupied at the time. All of the plaster was then removed and while this was being done morning and evening services were held in the Long Gallery and Holy Communion in the chancel. The Rector noted that the removal of the plaster and its replacement by boards had a beneficial effect on the acoustics. At the same time four new ventilators were installed in the roof to improve the purity of the air in the church. The option of making the chancel windows to open for this purpose was rejected as adequate ventilation could be provided by opening the door and windows in the Englefield Chapel, and as the Rector comments “…our Church heating apparatus is very defective, and caution is necessary in increasing the number of draughts, or the Church would be even colder than it is.”

 

The nave and chancel are pictured on the left in 2012.

 

The aisle

© 2019 Richard J Smith

Englefield History

Like the chancel, the nave was restored in 1855-7 with the lancet windows replacing the old square-headed ones. The new gothic style chancel arch would certainly have displaced the Royal Arms, prominently displayed in most churches from late in the reign of Henry VIII until that time. These were mostly removed from their place over the chancel arch during mid-Victorian restoration. Other local churches still have displaced copies on display but none are to be found at Englefield. Even if any were still in existence in 1884 they may well not have survived the incumbency of the Reverend Arthur Heigham. In about 1867 when Rector at Newport Pagnell he removed the Royal Arms from above the chancel arch because they signified the primacy of state over church but was forced to replace them after a public outcry of disapproval.

Englefield History

Englefield History

Englefield History