St. Mary's Church, Higham Ferrers

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St. Mary's Church, Higham Ferrers
Coordinates: 52°18′21″N 0°35′35″W / 52.305883°N 0.593185°W / 52.305883; -0.593185
Country United Kingdom
Denomination Church of England
Churchmanship Anglo-Catholic
History
Dedication St. Mary
Architecture
Heritage designation Grade I listed building
Architectural type Perpendicular Gothic
Administration
Parish Higham Ferrers
Diocese Diocese of Peterborough
Province Canterbury

St Mary's Church, Higham Ferrers is a parish church in the Church of England in Higham Ferrers, Northamptonshire.

History and description[edit]

The nave and high altar

The present church was founded by a charter of King Henry III in about 1220, with the tower being the last part of the first phase to be completed in about 1250.[1]

A large proportion of the original church survives to the present.

The next phase of building in about 1320, was the widening of the North Aisle and the replacement of the Nave arcade, to allow for the insertion of the Lady Chapel. Additional windows were added to the Chancel and the South Aisle.

The Clerestory and the low pitched roof, with parapets is of early 15th century, possibly under the auspices of Bishop Henry Chichele. The Archbishop also had the screen and Choir Stalls with their misericords installed in about 1425. It is worth noting that Archbishop Chichele also had All Souls College, Oxford built, and there is a definite family resemblance between both sets of misericords, it is possible that the same carver (possibly Richard Tyllock) created both sets of misericords.

In 1631 the spire and part of the tower collapsed, and then repaired shortly afterwards. This was the last work performed on the fabric of the church.

Two restorations took place during the 19th century, but both seem to have been sympathetically performed.

The west porch

One of the chief glories of the church is the west porch. The roundels in the Tympanum depict scenes from the lives of Jesus Christ and Mary, his mother. Built between 1270-80, it is almost certainly the work of one of the foreign masons employed in the rebuilding of Westminster Abbey, the style and quality of the work here closely resembling the porch of the North transept of the Abbey.[2] The stone frames of the doorway are carved with figures and tendrils forming a Tree of Jesse.

Memorials[edit]

Laurence St. Maur, died 1337, is commemorated by an elaborate brass between the two chancels.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Buildings of England; Northamptonshire. Nikolaus Pevsner.
  2. ^ The Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary, a short guide. Revd. C. S. Ford, 1958