Thechurchbeinglargelyconstructedofpebbleandrubblewithdressingofbarnackstonehasrequiredconstantattention andwasextensivelyrestoredin1870-71whenthenorthaislewascompletelyrebuilt,muchwindowtraceryrenewed,the south porch partly rebuilt and a new font provided.Thereareseveralfeaturesofinterest,thetowerandspirebeingthemostimportantandofunusualdesign,onlythoseat GrafhamandOldWestonbeingsimilar.Itisofthreestages,thetwolowestbeingsquarebutthethird,whichincludes thebelfryturnsoctagonalinitsupperhalf.Attheangleswherethechangetakesplacearcfourpinnaclesminustheir topswhichtraditionallyaresaidtohaveblowndowninthegreatstormof1741whenmuchdamagewasdoneto buildingsalloverthedistrict,windmillsbeingoverturnedandspiresdestroyed.Ineachcardinalfaceisatwo-light windowabovewhichisabattlementedparapet.Thetallspire,whichhasanoticeableentasis,hastwosetsofspire-lights and seems too big for the tower.Inthechancelisaremarkableandbeautifuldoublepiscinaofthemid-13thcenturywhichretainstworounddrainsand theoriginalwoodenshelfforholdingthenapkinsandcruetsusedduringthecommunionservice.Oppositeisacurious stoneseatwithshapedarms,reputedtobealsoofthe13thcentury.Itspreciseuseisunknownanduntilrecently,itstood atthewestendoftheaisle.Amoderndoublescreenwasremovedfromthechancelarchtothegreatimprovementofthe interiorandpartusedtoformavestryatthewestendofthenorthaisle.Theoriginalroodscreendisappearedlongago; itsloftmayhavebeenreachedbyastaironthesouthsideofthechancelarchwhereisatallrecess.Theinnerorderof thearchisrebatedforawoodentympanumwhichformedthebackgroundforthegreatCrucifixanditsattendantfigures ofSt.Maryand§t.John,arareexampleofthiskindoffittinginHuntingdonshire.Allthestainedglassandfurnishings are modern but the plate includes an Elizabethan communion cup.Close by the south porch is the restored headstone of Thomas Garner, the village blacksmith who died in 1826.THE CHURCH OF ST. MARGARETS (ALL SAINTS) AT WYTONAllSaints'isatypicalpost-ReformationdedicationbutthereisevidencethattheoriginaldedicationwastoSt.Margaret. AsatHoughton,thereisnotraceofaSaxonchurchbutsomethingremainsofitsNormansuccessor.Builtintothenave wallsmaybeseenvariousstonescarvedwithchevronornamentandthewesternhalfofthesouthwallofthechancel andmuchofthesouthwallofthenavearethickerthanelsewherepointingto12thcenturyorigin.Fromsuchscant evidenceasexistsitwouldappeartheNormanchurchhadasmallchancelandanaislelessnaveextendingonlyasfaras the third arch of the north arcade.Aboutthebeginningofthe13thcenturythenavewasextendedwestwardtoitspresentlengthandanorthaisleoffour baysadded.Theremayhavebeenabellturretoverthewesterngable.Alittlelaterthechancelappearstohavebeen doubledinlength,thenewwallsbeingthinnerthantheNormanandonthesouthatthejunctionwiththeextensiona priest'sdoorwasinserted.Lateinthesamecenturyatwo-lightwindowwasplacedinthenorthwallbutitseemstohave been re-set in its present position at some later date.Towardstheendofthe14thcenturythechancelunderwentfurtherextensiverestoration.Anewwindowofthree-lights tooktheplaceofanearlieroneintheeastwallandanothersmalleronewasintroducedonthesouthsideeastofthe priest’sdoor.Thechancelarchwaswidenedandanewsouthdoorwaytothenaveinserted.Theroofswere reconstructed and a series of carved corbels which supported that of the chancel remain.TheonlylaterimprovementsbeforetheReformationwerethelargethree-lightwindowinthesouthwallofthenave about 1450 and another west of the priest's door made at the beginning of the 16th century.Therewasapparentlyachapeleastofthenorthaislewhichopenedtothechancelbyanarchway.Itwasdestroyedat someperiodandthearchwaybuiltup.Theadditionofthevestryandorganchamberonitssiteinthe19thcentury causedthedestructionofthearchwayandthe14thcenturywindow,shornofitshead,nowrebuiltinthenorthwallmay have been part of the chapel as it was in the infilling of the arch.Atsomefurtherunknowndateawoodentowerandspirewereaddedatthewestendofthenaveandawatercolourofit hangsonthenorthwallofthechancelofSt.Mary’swhichincidentallyalsoshowsthenavepartlyunroofedandthe wholebuildinginasadcondition.Thistowerwasreplacedin1846byabrickonewhichhadlargetwo-lightbelfry windowsandastrikingcrosssaddle-backroof,showninaphotographattheCountyRecordOffice.Some20yearslater, in1866,itwasremovedpossiblybecauseitwasunsafe,andthepresenttowerandspireaboutwhichthelesssaidthe better,werebuiltinitsplace.Atthistimeacomprehensiverestorationofthewholebuildingwasundertakenwhenthe northaislewascompletelyrebuilt,thevestryandsouthporchadded,andalargefour-lightwindowinsertedinthewest walltogivemorelighttothenave.Theroofswerereconstructedtoasteeppitchandsomelargeandfearsome gargoyles, previously adorning the former brick lower, were inserted in the new aisle wall.
Created by Webhawks
HISTORYThe church being largely constructed of pebble and rubble with dressing of barnack stone has required constant attention and was extensively restored in 1870-71 when the north aisle was completely rebuilt, much window tracery renewed, the south porch partly rebuilt and a new font provided.There are several features of interest, the tower and spire being the most important and of unusual design, only those at Grafham and Old Weston being similar. It is of three stages, the two lowest being square but the third, which includes the belfry turns octagonal in its upper half. At the angles where the change takes place arc four pinnacles minus their tops which traditionally are said to have blown down in the great storm of 1741 when much damage was done to buildings all over the district, windmills being overturned and spires destroyed. In each cardinal face is a two-light window above which is a battlemented parapet. The tall spire, which has a noticeable entasis, has two sets of spire-lights and seems too big for the tower.In the chancel is a remarkable and beautiful double piscina of the mid-13th century which retains two round drains and the original wooden shelf for holding the napkins and cruets used during the communion service. Opposite is a curious stone seat with shaped arms, reputed to be also of the 13th century. Its precise use is unknown and until recently, it stood at the west end of the aisle. A modern double screen was removed from the chancel arch to the great improvement of the interior and part used to form a vestry at the west end of the north aisle. The original rood screen disappeared long ago; its loft may have been reached by a stair on the south side of the chancel arch where is a tall recess. The inner order of the arch is rebated for a wooden tympanum which formed the background for the great Crucifix and its attendant figures of St. Mary and §t. John, a rare example of this kind of fitting in Huntingdonshire. All the stained glass and furnishings are modern but the plate includes an Elizabethan communion cup.Close by the south porch is the restored headstone of Thomas Garner, the village blacksmith who died in 1826.THE CHURCH OF ST. MARGARETS (ALL SAINTS) AT WYTONAll Saints' is a typical post-Reformation dedication but there is evidence that the original dedication was to St. Margaret. As at Houghton, there is no trace of a Saxon church but something remains of its Norman successor. Built into the nave walls may be seen various stones carved with chevron ornament and the western half of the south wall of the chancel and much of the south wall of the nave are thicker than elsewhere pointing to 12th century origin. From such scant evidence as exists it would appear the Norman church had a small chancel and an aisleless nave extending only as far as the third arch of the north arcade.About the beginning of the 13th century the nave was extended westward to its present length and a north aisle of four bays added. There may have been a bell turret over the western gable. A little later the chancel appears to have been doubled in length, the new walls being thinner than the Norman and on the south at the junction with the extension a priest's door was inserted. Late in the same century a two-light window was placed in the north wall but it seems to have been re-set in its present position at some later date.Towards the end of the 14th century the chancel underwent further extensive restoration. A new window of three-lights took the place of an earlier one in the east wall and another smaller one was introduced on the south side east of the priest’s door. The chancel arch was widened and a new south doorway to the nave inserted. The roofs were reconstructed and a series of carved corbels which supported that of the chancel remain.The only later improvements before the Reformation were the large three-light window in the south wall of the nave about 1450 and another west of the priest's door made at the beginning of the 16th century.There was apparently a chapel east of the north aisle which opened to the chancel by an archway. It was destroyed at some period and the archway built up. The addition of the vestry and organ chamber on its site in the 19th century caused the destruction of the archway and the 14th century window, shorn of its head, now rebuilt in the north wall may have been part of the chapel as it was in the infilling of the arch.At some further unknown date a wooden tower and spire were added at the west end of the nave and a water colour of it hangs on the north wall of the chancel of St. Mary’s which incidentally also shows the nave partly unroofed and the whole building in a sad condition. This tower was replaced in 1846 by a brick one which had large two-light belfry windows and a striking cross saddle-back roof, shown in a photograph at the County Record Office. Some 20 years later, in 1866, it was removed possibly because it was unsafe, and the present tower and spire about which the less said the better, were built in its place. At this time a comprehensive restoration of the whole building was undertaken when the north aisle was completely rebuilt, the vestry and south porch added, and a large four-light window inserted in the west wall to give more light to the nave. The roofs were reconstructed to a steep pitch and some large and fearsome gargoyles, previously adorning the former brick lower, were inserted in the new aisle wall.