"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

Thursday, 9 January 2020

St Nicholas, Beaudesert and St John the Baptist, Henley in Arden

St John's, Henley in Arden, and St Nicholas's Church in Beaudesert are located within 500 yards of each other and since 1915 they have been united under one Rector.

Despite the closesness of St Nicholas, parishioners in Henley in medieval times had to worship at the church at Wootton Wawen two miles away. The journey was dangerous due to the threat of floods and highwaymen and so a Chapel of Ease was built and then later the building of St John's church began at the end of the 15th century.

St John the Baptist, Henley

I didn't go inside the church on this visit but if you would like to see the interior please see my post on the church last year here

Just a few photos from the exterior as we walked past on our way to the motte and bailey

Carvings of fruit and leaves

Carvings by exterior East Window

St Nicholas, Beaudesert

St Nicholas is Norman and construction, under instructions from the de Montfort family, began in 1170 to provide a place for people from the castle and Beaudesert to worship. The nave is lower and narrower than the chancel as the North wall had to be rebuilt as a result of problems with ground to the north. The tower, built of Arden stone, is 15th century.

The chancel including the chancel arch is completely Norman and was restored in the 19th century with the same quality of Norman craftsmanship. The church was restored by Thomas Garner in 1864.

The lychgate was added in 1878.

The Norman arch around the south door has been restored.

The weather vane depicting St Nicholas with three children.

The inside of the church was rather dark and gloomy - I really must remember to look for light switches! - so the photos aren't brilliant.

15th century octagonal font.

Church interior

Five of the nave windows installed 1864/5 are by Morris and Co and really are rather lovely. Indidivual figures were depicted by Philip Webb, Burne-Jones, Nora Madox and William Morris himself.

This window depicts St Nicholas and the legend of the saint raising 3 boys from the dead after they had been robbed, killed and hidden in a barrel of pickled pork.

The West Window, obscured by bell pulls!

Lectern - neo Norman by the Bromsgrove Guild 1930

Rubbish photo of the chancel arch! This arch has also been restored

Victorian tiles in the chancel


East window by Holland 1853

Finally, a few photos from the churchyard

East Window exterior

As usual features were missed - old piscina in chancel (actually I did see this but it was too dark to get a photo!), ambry in North Wall and near the south door are the remains of a Norman stoup badly damaged but of interest as it was one of the few surviving stoups from this period.

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

Reference. Leaflet from St Nicholas, Beaudesert


Margaret Birding For Pleasure said...

Lovely photographs of these buildings. Love the Norman restored arch and of course all the stain glass windows.

Rustic Pumpkin said...

Some lovely details in the carvings and arches. Those first few photos look like very recent additions to the arches {the round vegetation ones} and a little out of place to my eye. I always find graveyards look a bit strange at Christmas. I think it's the artificial door wreaths that people use to combat the elements.

Ragged Robin said...

Margaret Birding For Pleasure - Thanks so much - glad you enjoyed :)

Rustic Pumpkin - Thanks so much. Hidden somewhere in a storage box I have a longer guide I think to the first church - will see if I can find and look for more information on exterior carvings :) Will also check Pevsner! Yes the churchyward in the second church was a bit full of Christmas decoration!

Amanda Peters said...

Great blog post, loved looking at all the photos.
Amanda xx

Rosie said...

It's a lovely church. I like the fruit and leaf carvings and the faces are rather nice and serence looking. I like the restored Norman arches on both the South door and the Chancel and the outside of the East window too:)

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda - Thanks so much :) Glad you enjoyed.

Rosie - Thanks so much. St Nicholas with the Norman work was quite a surprise as I hadn't done any "homework" before going but the highlight for me was the Morris & Co windows :)

Toffeeapple said...

Those carvings are superb!

Ragged Robin said...

Toffeeapple - Thank you - they were rather good :)

CherryPie said...

I love the unusual weather vein :-)

Ragged Robin said...

CherryPie - Thank you and yes it is rather different :)