Sunday, 16 April 2017

St. Mary Ecclesfield - The Interior

A detail of the monument to Sir Richard Scott

When visiting St. Mary's church in Ecclesfield, I took advantage of an open day that coincided with a community event that was being held in the nearby Gatty Memorial Hall but, with an orchestra setting up for a concert that was due to take place shortly, my exploration of its interior was only brief, with enough time only to photograph its essential architectural features.

A view east along the nave

According to Sir Nikolaus Pevsner, the columns to the arcades have been reused from a previous structure and date back to c.1200 and were provided with tall bases and capitals to fit them into the proportion of the new nave. As seen in several other churches, the north arcade has round columns and those of the south arcade are octagonal, with the octagonal capitals and the arches above them being uniform in style, which Pevsner attributes to the early 14th century.

The north arcade

Looking at the masonry above the arcades, this is all ashlar, with large blocks of yellowish sandstone used throughout and it is not obvious that the height of the nave has been raised, although the style of the windows are clearly Perpendicular Gothic.

The south arcade

The same pattern of masonry is seen in the lower parts of the walls of the naves but a large proportion of their upper parts comprise squared and coursed rubble walling, with very irregular bed heights and block sizes; however I didn't have the opportunity to any of the stonework closely, except to see some of the mason's marks that were pointed out to me by one of the parishioners who showed me around.

Mason's marks to the arcade columns

Scattered around the walls, there are hatchments various fine quality and often elaborate memorials, dating from the later Victorian period onwards, where a wide variety of decorative stones have been used together with mosaic and ceramic tiles.

Various wall memorials

The most impressive of the memorials is the large monument to Sir Richard Scott, made in 1640 by William Wright, which uses black polished limestone for the columns and inscribed panels and alabaster for the fine decorative details and the reclining figure.

The monument to Sir Richard Scott

Other features of interest are the 1662 font, the remains of a Saxon cross that may have had a double shaft and, although digressing from the theme of natural stone, there is 12th century chest carved form a single tree trunk and fine carved woodwork dating from 1500, which includes misericords and poppyheads to the choir stalls.

Various poppyheads to the choir stalls

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