"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Friday, 8 February 2019

St John the Baptist - Henley-in-Arden

As mentioned in my last post I had a quick look round the church of St John the Baptist while the rest of the family walked back for an icecream at Henley ices. The church built of local sandstone in the Perpendicular style dates back to the middle of the 15th century (possibly around 1443) and replaced an earlier Chapel of Ease. The church tower was restored/repaired in 1912 and 1979.

The clock on the tower installed in 1868 replaced an earlier one and as someone said on Twitter it does look a bit as though it was added as an afterthought!

On either side of the church porch there are dragons - one happy and

one grumpy/angry.

The stained glass window in the porch with images of St Geroge and St Christopher is dedicated to the Reverend Geroge Bell and his wife Mary who served the Parish between 1876 and 1914.

The font dates back to the 17th or 18th century.

The pulpit has linenfold panelling and I did like the embroidered cloth (sorry not sure of the correct name!) on both the pulpit and lectern which look very recent.

Roof rafters date back to the mid 17th century

The new reredos and altar clothes. The former shows the cycle of the moon and the latter the rising sun.

East Window

I did like these embroidered kneelers by the altar rail.

This north doorway may have been the link between the Chapel of Ease and the present church.

To celebrate the Millennium a new window was installed in the South Wall which shows Christ in the market place surrounded by representatives from local organisations.


The West Window

The original medieval supporting corbels are carved in the shape of angels holding shields.

More corbels in the shape of heads wearing medieval headgear.

Unfortunately I couldn't get a decent photo of this stone carving - a dragon? - as every time I moved near a light came on.

Corbels on the north windows show grotesque animals possibly a bat and a frog - their unpleasant appearance according to the guide book may have warned off undesirables! I don't think I have seen a bat or a frog depicted in a church before.

Water stoup in the porch where in earlier times people would have washed their hands in water before entering the church.

As always when I have limited time I managed to miss quite a few interesting features including a Green Man carving high above the porch. I've gone through photos of previous visits and found what I think is the Green Man taken by D.


Hopefully, I can return to the church as it is only about 30 mins away and I would also like to visit the Norman Church in Beaudesert a few hundred yards away from St John. The castle, if anything remains, also sounds interesting.

*D photo of Green Man taken by my son with the Canon SX50 bridge camera a few years ago

All other photos taken by me with the Panasonic Lumix FZ330 bridge camera

Reference: The Parish Church of St John the Baptist Henley in Arden guidebook


David Gascoigne said...

In times past when most people did not own a timepiece of any kind, clocks were featured on many prominent buildings. Then as people became a little better off pocket watches and wrist watches came into vogue, and now of course smart phones are ubiquitous, and clocks are no longer incorporated into modern structures. And more's the pity I say!

amanda peters said...

A lovely church with interesting features , especially the dragons, frog and bat not forgetting the green man. Have to say the clock made me laugh.
The Millennium window is stunning.
Do hope you get to visit the other church in the town.
Amanda xx

Ragged Robin said...

David Gascoigne - Thank you. I agree about clocks being on buildings because I do not always wear a watch and half the time I forget my mobile!

Amanda Peters - Thank you. The two dragons there are my favourite and I was rather pleased to find the unusual frog and bat. The Millennium Window was beautiful. Will probably go back at some stage on my own so I can spend more time in the churches. Also a few miles away is the stunning church at Wooton Wawen which I need to revisit so I can cram that one in as well.

CherryPie said...

It is a lovely looking church. The colours in the millenium window are stunning.

Rosie said...

A lovely building, ancient and modern blending well together. The clock does look as if they forgot it and then found there wasn't really room for it. The carvings are wonderful, love the smiling and grumpy dragons and also the faces, bats and frogs, how unusual they are. The windows are wonderful too:)

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

That church clock is so wrong! Never seen that before.

Ragged Robin said...

CherryPie - Thank you and I thought the Millennium Window stunning too :)

Rosie - Thank you - to be honest I hadn't noticed how wrong the clock looked until someone pointed it out. The carvings were a highlight for me :) It is so easy to forget to look up but I am training myself to do so whenever I go in a church :)

Simon Douglas Thompson - Thank you Simon. Once you notice the position of the clock you can't miss it every time you look at the photo!

Pam said...

Lovely photos Caroline :)

Ragged Robin said...

Pam - Thanks so much :)

Caroline Gill said...

You really have an eye for seeking out the detail, RR, and helping us to notice it, too ... which I really appreciate. Like others, I am also drawn to the bat and frog carvings. And I love the blue butterfly (echoes of Robert Frost's blue butterfly poem, perhaps...) on what I think folk would call the pulpit 'fall'. I was in Norwich Cathedral on Saturday, where I always like the 'mirror on wheels' which helps one to admire the detail (Noah's Ark etc.) in the roof bosses, so high above our heads.

Ragged Robin said...

Caroline Gill - Thank you so much :) I think the bridge camera (now I can zoom in such a lot) and also #animalsinchurches hour has helped me notice detail far more these days.

Thanks so much for reminding me of Robert Frost's poem - I had failed to think of that. I do like his work - he was one of the poets from memory in the GCE"O" level set text (10 Twentieth century poets which I finally got a copy of second hand a few years ago).

Thanks for naming the fall too - will try and remember that!! Sadly, I have never been to Norwich Cathedral but the "mirror on wheels" sounds a lovely idea!! :)

Midmarsh John said...

I am always filled with admiration for the skills of stained glass workers both medieval and modern.

Ragged Robin said...

Midmarsh John - Thank you and yes I agree so much to admire and so much beauty :)

Pete Duxon said...

i have a mug from Henley/Beaudessert :) an ex boss lives there and took me to Henley church

Ragged Robin said...

Pete Duxon - Thanks you - very jealous of your mug! I must go back to the Beaudesert Norman church - just behind the one I visited in this post. Your ex boss is fortunate - a nice little town :)

Toffeeapple said...

Trying to catch up again - can you tell that I have had a lot of new books to read?

I agree about the clock - what a hoot!

Ragged Robin said...

Toffeeapple - Thank you. It is always good to have lots of new books to read :)