The interior

The interior of the church in the 18th Century would have looked completely different to that which we see now, with a massive Royal Arms on the wall above the chancel arch, box pews and galleries. A note by the Rector Robert Hodson dated 1775 in the church records notes that North and South galleries had been added, the pulpit and desk removed and an organ installed on a third, central gallery at the West end and the “whole church and chancel painted and beautified”.  

 In 1859 the current organ chamber was created from the existing chapel at the head of the North aisle and the vestry added. (An 1837 plan, showing the seating in the church, suggests that the current triangular vestry replaced a smaller rectangular room). This and further work - to rebuild the collapsing South Aisle, remove the box pews and galleries and repair the Nave roof - were carried out during the incumbency of Rev F Vesey. The architect for this work was Sir George Gilbert Scott.

The photograph (right) shows the interior of the church in about 1910.

The font, believed to be that from St John’s Church and therefore the one in which Oliver Cromwell would have been baptised, was found in a garden of a building on the High Street and restored to the church in 1927.

In 1932 the funds to restore the Corpus Christi altar (in the south aisle) were donated by Lady Sandwich in memory of her mother. The architect for this work was Sir Ninian Comper. The skill of the restorer allowed parts of the 15th Century Reredos to be preserved. The next major work took place in the 1950s when a thorough examination of the fabric revealed that the floor and some of the exterior stonework was unsafe and that Death Watch beetle had seriously damaged all the roof timbers. At this time, guidance was sought from the Victoria & Albert Museum on the recolouring of the chancel roof and the 19th Century screen which had separated the nave and the chancel was moved and adapted to become a Reredos for the Lady Altar in front of the organ at the head of the North Aisle. A replacement for the 19th Century pulpit was also commissioned and installed and the Cromwell and Fulwell family tombs sealed. The current flooring, installed during the restoration in 1950s, was based on traces of the Norman flooring discovered at the base of the pillars. 

 

 

During 2005-09, the church recorders of NADFAS surveyed all the furniture, windows, vestments, monuments etc of the church interior. The photograph shows the record being presented to the church in 2010. A copy has been placed in the church and can be examined when the church is open.

 

 

More photographs of the windows can be found here taken by TheRev Steve

robschurches.moonfruit.com  are great too for lovely photographs  


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