TL2985 : Church of St Thomas Becket, Ramsey

taken 4 years ago, near to Ramsey, Cambridgeshire, Great Britain

Church of St Thomas à Becket, Ramsey
Church of St Thomas Becket, Ramsey
The nave, looking east, showing the late 12th century Early English arcade. Note the variations in style of the columns and capitals.
The blocked opening two bays forward from the chancel arch shows the position of a long-gone rood screen, probably accessed from outside the church. The roof is from the 1844 restoration, although it conceals medieval timberwork in the main structure.
Church of St Thomas Becket, Ramsey
The church originated as a hospitium or guest house of Ramsey Abbey, being founded around 1180. It consisted of an aisled hall of 8 bays with a chapel formed of a single bay at the east end. The latter now forms the chancel of the church. It is in late Romanesque style with a cross-ribbed vault, and probably represents the first phase of building as the arcades of the nave are in Early English style.

Sometime in the 13th century, the building was converted into the parish church, possible in 1237, but certainly by 1291 which is the first written record. Prior to this parish service were held in the Abbey church.

During the early Perpendicular period, a clerestory was created and new windows built into the aisles to create the church essentially as it exists, less the tower. Although some funds for a tower had been willed to the parish by the last Abbot, nothing was done until 1672 when the current tower was built to replace the previous small belfry. The new tower used stonework from the Abbey ruins which is reflected in the styling. It took the place of the most westerly bay of the nave.

The west doorway is 12th century in style and may well be the original west door, although much restored. Externally, the east end retains the Romanesque east wall with its three round-headed lancets surmounted by an oval 'vesica piscis' window. The south wall of the chancel shows remains of columns forming part of the warden's lodgings and/or vestry.

Inside, the fine Early English arcades stretch almost to the end of the building. The style of decoration of the capitals indicates essentially Transitional work. The original layout of hall with a small chapel at the east end has resulted in an unusual feature in the modern layout whereby the communion rail is well forward of the chancel arch in the nave.

Of other old internal features, there are a plain piscina and sedilia , somewhat restored, in the chancel, and an early font. This is thought to date from the late 12th or early 13th century. Hexagonal in shape, the bowl is supported on four columns of Northamptonshire or Purbeck marble, surrounding a 19th century main pillar. The latter was added when the font was discovered and restored during the main restoration of 1843-4. The poppy-head pews date from this restoration also.

The church is Listed Grade I.

Much of the information is derived from the church's own information leaflet.
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%)

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TL2985, 56 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Monday, 14 September, 2015   (more nearby)
Thursday, 17 September, 2015
Geographical Context
Historic sites and artefacts  Religious sites  City, Town centre 
Period (from Tags)
12th Century 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TL 2909 8515 [10m precision]
WGS84: 52:26.9440N 0:6.1162W
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TL 2905 8514
View Direction
EAST (about 90 degrees)
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Other Tags
Church Nave  Early English Style  Aisle Arcade  Parish Church  Grade I Listed 

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