The last church on our list that we visited is actually in Rock, and our favourite café is 2 minutes away so it had to be done. Unfortunately it isn’t open to the public. A notice on the front door says “A recent electrical inspection of the church building has revealed significant failings in the electrical wiring to the extent that it is not safe to use. Until the church can be rewired, the building will remain closed”. That notice was put up on 1st December 2021 and 5 months down the line it’s still closed, so the job must be quite extensive and expensive.
Still, we had a wander around the outside, and there’s a little history we can look at.
The History Bit ☕️ 🍪
The church was constructed in or about 1176, and consisted of a chancel and a nave with a rood screen at their junction. Unfortunately it fell into disrepair and by the end of the eighteenth century was in such a dilapidated condition that no services could be held. Luckily a chap called Charles Bozanquet rebuilt it at his own expense in 1806. In 1855 the Rev. R. W. Bosanquet (Charles’ son) decided that further improvements should be carried out, and the architect employed was Anthony Salvin, then residing mainly at Alnwick to supervise the Duke of Northumberland’s alterations at Alnwick Castle. The principal works were the construction of the semi-circular apse at the east end of the chancel, the rebuilding of the vestry, and the restoration of the old Norman and Early English windows, In 1866 an aisle was added on the north side of the nave, the architect being F. R. Wilson. The north wall was moved stone by stone, including a Norman window and the corbel table.
Charles was born on 23 July 1769 at Forest House, Essex, the second son of Samuel Bosanquet and Eleanor Hunter. He was educated at Newcome’s School and then in Switzerland. He married Charlotte Anne Holford on 1 June 1796 and fathered seven children, three of whom survived him. He served as sub-governor of the South Sea Company from 1808–38, and governor from 1838–50. From 1823–36 he was chairman of the exchequer bill office. He served as Justice of the Peace and Deputy Lieutenant for the county of Northumberland, and was High Sheriff of Northumberland in 1828. In 1819 he was lieutenant-colonel of light horse volunteers, later rising to colonel. He maintained a London residence at the Firs, Hampstead, and spent his later years at his estate of Rock Hall near Alnwick in Northumberland. He died there on 20 June 1850, and is buried in the church.
I did read up on Charles and he was an anti- bullionist economist who got into a row with some chap called David Ricardo who was a pro- bullionist and a) I didn’t understand a word of it and b) got bored trying to, so we’ll park that.
The Bozanquets are still in Northumberland at Rock Hall, which is a private residence, sadly for us. The Notice on the church door is signed by Jay Bozanquet and the church history on the website is written by the latest Charles J Bozanquet in 2012.
So onto the pictures!
The west door, with its rich zig-zag work, and the north wall of the nave are, from the outside, much as they appeared about 1176.
There is a fine Norman chancel arch, partly moulded and partly zig-zag. The outer order is cut away at the top centre, and on the surface (facing the floor) can be seen a rough outline of a dove, incised with a knife or small axe, as was sometimes done in the mid-twelfth century. On the floor of the chancel is an interesting grave cover, showing a floriated cross between a sword and an axe. The font near the west door is partly ancient.
There’s a lot more to see inside the church, but I like to have pictures to go with my descriptions, so I’m going to leave this as a kind of part 1, and hope they get their fingers out and get the bliddy electrics sorted so I can go back and do a proper job!
This is the last of my outings with Sophie for now, but stay tooned for some Fraggle Curateds and other stuff until we get out and about again.