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St. Michael, Lambourn, Berkshire

Description

The church of St. Michael is an ancient and spacious cruciform building of stone and shingle in the Norman, Early English and Perpendicular styles, consisting of chancel, nave, transepts, three chapels, south porch and a central embattled tower, with four octagonal turrets and containing 8 bells and clock: the chancel is of Early English date, and has a fine Perpendicular east window of five lights and a small Decorated piscina: on the south side an arch of the same period opens into an aisle called St. Mary's chapel, and eastward of it is a window, the sill of which forms sedilia; on the north side two Perpendicular arches open to an aisle of that date: at the east end is a mural monument of late Elizabethan or Jacobean date to Thomas Garrard and Agnes (Waldwyne) his wife; and in the south wall a slab of black marble, with effigies in brass of his son, Thomas Garrard, gent. 1619, Anne (Jutt) his wife, 1610, and Thomas, their son: there is also a medallion of Charles I. in alabaster, with figures representing Truth and Justice, standing on "Round Heads" in chains: the lower arches are good Norman, almost Early English: the transepts have chiefly Decorated and Perpendicular windows, but one lancet survives in the north transept, which has a Transition Norman arch on the west side: the chapel of St. Mary, east of the south transept, belongs to the Decorated period, and was built by John de Estbury about 1360: he died October 25, 1375, and, his tomb with that of his son is in the chapel: the sumptous marble monument, to the Garrard family of Bockhampton, also formerly in this chapel, now remains only in fragments, which record the names of Roger Garrard and Elizabeth (Violett), his wife: south of St. Mary's chapel, and opening into it, is the chapel of the Holy Trinity, a Late Perpendicular structure, in the centre of which is an altar tomb, with an effigy in copper of John Estbury, 1508, in a surcoat of his arms and a marginal inscription: this John Estbury was also the founder of the almshouse or hospital, situated near the churchyard, for ten poor men, who, during divine service, are wont to kneel round the founder's tomb, about which new oaken stalls were placed, in 1888, by trustees, at a cost of £45, for that purpose: there is also a brass, with half-effigies, to John de Estbury, c. 1400, and Agnes, his wife: the Essex chapel, north of the church, occupies the site of the older chantry, founded by the De Bathes or the Bohuns, but was extended eastward nearly two centuries later to its present dimensions, and most probably by Sir Thomas Essex kt. whose very fine alabaster monnment is placed in this chapel; this tomb bears life-size recumbent figures of Sir Thomas Essex, who died 29 August, 1558, and of dame Margaret, his wife, fourth daughter of William, first baron Sandys of the Vine, with a marginal inscription: around are many memorials of the Seymour's, who for nearly three centuries resided at Inholmes, in this parish, on one of which, that of Edward Seymour esq. (ob. 1798), are some verses by Henry James Pye esq. M.P., D.C.L. and Poet Laureate in 1790; here also rests Charles Fettiplace, a benefactor to the local charities: this chapel was for a long time used as a house for the parish fire engine, but was rebuilt from the foundations about 1850, and is now used as a choir vestry. The nave is the oldest part of the church, and dates from the 11th century (1085); it has four bays, with Late Norman arches and massive pillars, and a clerestory: at the west end are traces of its original Norman windows, with an existing circular window in the gable: the staircase to the rood-loft, diverted from its origina1 course, is now connected with the tower, but the entrance is from the exterior: on the wall, formerly crossed by the rood-loft, is a piscina: the aisles were originally much lower and lighted with small Norman windows; but the existing south aisle seems to be Decorated and that on the north side Perpendicular: the only remains of the old roofing are to be found in the sonth aisle, elsewhere it was entirely renewed, with the exception of the tie beams, in 1849-50: the tower, erected some 60 or 70 years later than the nave, is a perfect square of about 20 feet, and an excellent example, as far as the top of the clock, of Transition Norman; the upper portion is Perpendicular: about 1770 it was bound round on the exterior with ironwork, and an independent bell-frame erected within: in 1892 the tower was thoroughly restored, refaced with stone, and the bells re-hung upon a new iron frame; a new vaulted oak ceiling beneath the tower was also erected: the south porch is Decorated, with Perpendicular additions; above it is a parvise or priest's room, which used to be reached by a stone staircase from the outside, but now by a spiral iron stair within the porch; a corresponding porch on the north side was removed in 1850: there are two fonts: the earlier, a work in the de based Renaissance style, was obtained between 1663 and 1666, and after having stood in the north transept till 1849, was then removed and sold, and used as a flower-pot in the garden of Mr. Lyne's farm, at Barton, near Marlborough, Wilts: in its place, Mr. Hippisley presented a new font of pseudo-Norman character, but in 1903 the 17th century font was recovered and replaced in the church; the stained windows in the Trinity chapel are memorials, inserted by H. Hippisley esq. of Lambourn Place: the east window, representing the "Last Judgment." was erected in 1876 in memory of Robert Milman, bishop of Calcutta (1867-76), who died 15 March, 1876, and was formerly vicar of Lambourn: the west stained window was erected in 1905 in memory of Dr. Kennard: there is also a memorial window in the chancel to the Rev. John, Murray, a former vicar: a stained window has been inserted in the nave to the memory of Miss Twynam, by Col. Twynam C.B.: the organ, restored in 1890 at a cost of £157, was erected in 1862: the restoration, carried out in 1892 at a total cost of £3,300, included, in addition to the work already mentioned, the erection of new oak choir stalls, the repair of the north doorway and new heating apparatus: the cost of restoring the chancel was borne by the lay impropriators, and that of Holy Trinity chapel by the trustees of the almshouses of John Estbury: the lych gate, erected at the same time at a cost of £130, is a memorial to Charles William Jousiffe of Seven Barrows: some relics, found six feet beneath the tower, during the recent restoration, are now in the Essex chapel: fragments of a valuable pre-Reformation stained window, purchased in a sale for a nominal sum, have been presented to the church by Police-Sergeant Frederick Smith of Lambourn, and are now in a window of the Holy Trinity chapel: there are 600 sittings. The church and churchyard were closed against further interments March 2, 1880, except at the western side of the churchyard where some years ago a piece of ground was added and consecrated.

Church Records

The register dates from the year 1560, and is in excellent preservation.

St. Michael
Lambourn
Berkshire

Denomination:Church of England
Diocese:Oxford
Sittings:600
Graveyard:Yes