SU6491 : Ewelme Church, St John the Baptist's Chapel exterior

taken 5 years ago, near to Ewelme, Oxfordshire, Great Britain

Ewelme Church, St John the Baptist's Chapel exterior
Ewelme Church, St John the Baptist's Chapel exterior
The larger dimensions compared with the south aisle which it replaced are evident.
Church of St Mary the Virgin, Ewelme
The church is a fine example of 15th century architecture in the Perpendicular style, built to show off both the wealth and piety of the local families. There was an earlier church on the site, to which a tower was added in the 14th century, but the body of the church was completely rebuilt in three stages between about 1420 and 1480, leaving the tower as the oldest part of the current fabric.
The church takes the form of a continuous space forming the nave and chancel, separated by a rood screen, with adjoining north and south aisles. On first impression, the nave gives an impression of unified architecture, but in fact the north arcade (c.1440) is later than the south (c.1420) and is noticeably more ornate in its detailing. This later part of the work was carried out in combination with the building of the attached God's Place almshouses and the school, and included the completion of the Chapel of St John the Baptist which replaced the eastern end of the south aisle. This acted as a chantry chapel where the residents of the almshouses would come for daily worship and prayer. The early work was under the auspices of Thomas Chaucer, (son of the poet Geoffrey Chaucer) by now a wealthy family. The later stage was instigated by his daughter Alice who in 1430 married William de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk. Alice's building work was carried out between 1437 and 1450.
The final stage of medieval work was the remodelling of the chancel and chapel area to include the tomb of Alice. This remarkable example of late Perpendicular work (c.1475) is recognised as one of the finest works of funerary sculpture of the period anywhere in the British Isles. The finely carved alabaster figure of Alice lies on a chest surrounded by elaborate carvings of angels and surmounted by an ornate canopy on which angels again feature prominently. In contrast, in the base of the chest lies a second figure of Alice, equally finely carved as that on the top, but portraying her as a cadaver in a shroud. This was to show that despite her wealth she was a mortal being like all humans.
The chapel is lavishly adorned with wall painting based on the initials IHS and a selection of biblical texts, and has an ornate timber ceiling also lavishly adorned with angels. The painting carries through onto the east wall of the chancel.
Of the interior fittings, the font with its exceptionally ornate cover, and the rood screen are thought to date from the period of Alice's rebuilding. The font is decorated with traceried panel work and stands on a two step marble base. The timber cover consists of four stages of elaborate ogee arches surmounted by a spire on top of which stands a figure of the archangel Michael. The cover is suspended from the roof and counterweighted by a large carved oak boss displaying a rose. Adjacent to the font is the most ornate of the corbel stops of the north aisle arcade, representing a crowned head, possibly intended to symbolise God and watching directly over baptisms. The rood screen, with its complementary parclose screens across the aisles and separating aisles from the chancel is of oak with the vertical members of the open work unusually made of wrought iron. The rood loft on top of the screen disappeared at the time of the Reformation, although the openings which gave access to it are still extant. At the west end of the church a covered way with fine doorways leads into the almshouses. The church is Listed Grade I.
Listed Buildings and Structures
Listed buildings and structures are officially designated as being of special architectural, historical or cultural significance. There are over half a million listed structures in the United Kingdom, covered by around 375,000 listings.
Listed status is more commonly associated with buildings or groups of buildings, however it can cover many other structures, including bridges, headstones, steps, ponds, monuments, walls, phone boxes, wrecks, parks, and heritage sites, and in more recent times a road crossing (Abbey Road) and graffiti art (Banksy 'Spy-booth') have been included.

In England and Wales there are three main listing designations;
Grade I (2.5%) - exceptional interest, sometimes considered to be internationally important.
Grade II* (5.5%) - particularly important buildings of more than special interest.
Grade II (92%) - nationally important and of special interest.

There are also locally listed structures (at the discretion of local authorities) using A, B and C designations.

In Scotland three classifications are also used but the criteria are different. There are around 47,500 Listed buildings.
Category A (8%)- generally equivalent to Grade I and II* in England and Wales
Category B (51%)- this appears generally to cover the ground of Grade II, recognising national importance.
Category C (41%)- buildings of local importance, probably with some overlap with English Grade II.

In Northern Ireland the criteria are similar to Scotland, but the classifications are:
Grade A (2.3%)
Grade B+ (4.7%)
Grade B (93%)

…read more at wikipedia LinkExternal link
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SU6491, 363 images   (more nearby )
Photographer
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Date Taken
Wednesday, 9 July, 2014   (more nearby)
Submitted
Monday, 14 July, 2014
Geographical Context
Historic sites and artefacts  Village, Rural settlement  Religious sites 
Style (from Tags)
Perpendicular 
Period (from Tags)
15th Century 
Primary Subject of Photo
Church 
Building Material (from Tags)
Flint and Stone 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SU 6467 9140 [10m precision]
WGS84: 51:37.0631N 1:4.0400W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! SU 6468 9138
View Direction
Northwest (about 315 degrees)
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Other Tags
Grade I Listed 

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