We own three ancient ‘ruins’ (or ‘Scheduled Ancient Monuments’) and Eastwell St Mary is one of them. Only the 15th century tower and the 19th century chapel remain of the church, with an intriguing memorial to a Richard Plantagenet, supposedly son of Richard III, in the former chancel.
The earliest fabric of St Denis’s dates to 1217, but much of the surviving medieval elements are from the 14th-century. Most of extant work is that of 19th-century architect William Butterfield.
A rare example of a surviving Arts and Crafts-influenced church by the architect John Coates Carter, re-invented from fragmentary medieval ruins in 1926-7 and characteristic of the architect’s later work in its use of indigenous materials and identifiably Welsh vernacular motifs.
St Mary used to be a wayside church, hugging the edge of the Great Cambridge Road until this was diverted. It is now a well-kept secret – the only sign leading to it reading simply ‘Byroad’. It passed to us after the heroic group that took it on when it closed sought a long-term solution.
The rare medieval rood screen at Llanelieu, on which you can still see the ghostly outline of the cross removed at the Reformation, is much admired by visitors and architectural historians alike. But did you know it also features in Andy McNab?
St Mary’s is listed Grade I and was taken into care by the Friends in 1982 after the church authorities had proposed converting it into a house. It retains a fascinating series of monuments to the Catesby and Sheddon families.
A tiny church with ancient origins sitting in timeless melancholy at the edge of the East Coast Mainline.
A fascinating medieval church in a picturesque setting overlooking Caernarfon Bay, St Baglan’s has pre-Christian origins – evident both in its large churchyard and early inscribed stones set in the doorway – and an evocative 18th century interior.
Made special by its interior, medieval St Mary’s retains a complete circuit of 19th century scraffito decoration by Heywood Sumner, depicting the Benedictine – it is unique in Wales and listed Grade I. The architect for the 19th century rebuilding was John Dando Sedding.
The tiny little church at Llancillo, vested with us in 2007, is probably the most difficult of all our buildings to find – but the search is worth it. The key hangs in the porch but the door is only locked to keep out the sheep.