Church of St Andrew, Kimbolton

October 30th, 2010

Sometimes having a camera with you can make you see things in a different light.

I had an early start last Sunday, dropping off my webmaster at Stansted Airport. Returning home to South Northamptonshire I decided to branch off the A14 and come back to Northamptonshire through the countryside. I can’t stand the A14 at the best of times, and couldn’t believe how busy it was on a Sunday morning at 10am!

When I got to Kimbolton, the light on the church was so beautiful that I decided to stop for a look. It is a Grade I listed building, and a church is listed on this site in the Domesday book. The original wooden church was replaced by a stone structure around 1200 although the current church is mostly of 14th century origin with later additions.

I knew nothing of the history of the church, and decided to go inside. Sometimes church interiors can be disappointing, but this one is a real gem. When I got to the door a lady was just leaving and as I opened the door I realised that the morning service had just finished and the congregation were standing at the back of the church having coffee. I didn’t want to disturb them, so turned around and made to leave but the door opened and I was invited inside. I explained that I am not a religious person, but love visiting historic buildings – it was obvious that I was a tourist from my camera bag.

The church is wonderfully light inside, and there are lots of cards explaining the history of the church dotted around. During restoration some medieval painted panels were found, and they have been placed at the entrance to the chancel. The light was streaming through on to the glass protecting them, so I didn’t even attempt to get a shot but, above the panels, is a carved rood screen with one of my favourite motifs, the Green Man:

I also love stained glass windows, and for me this was the highpoint of my visit:

Dedicated to the memory of the twin daughters of the eighth Duke and Duchess of Manchester, who both died by the age of 16, this is an absolutely glorious window. It was commissioned by the Duchess of Manchester who used to live in Kimbolton Castle in the late 19th century. After her husband had died in 1892 and her two daughters in 1895 and 1900, she contacted Louis Comfort Tiffany to commission this stained glass window. Tiffany was initially reluctant to take on the commission, as at that time he had not produced many windows on a religious theme. The window is positioned on the south side of the church, thus allowing the morning sun to stream in through the richly coloured iridescent moulded glass. (The full story is in a small panel below the window).

When I was looking for information on the church on my return home, I also came across another blog with images of this church: http://paxtonvic.wordpress.com/2010/08/07/kimbolton-church/ and the church website can be found here: http://www.standrew-kimbolton.org.uk/

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