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Listed Building: CHURCH OF ST HELEN (1096573)

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Grade I
Authority Historic England
Volume/Map/Item 468, 6, 27
Date assigned Thursday, January 19, 1967
Date last amended


Parish church. Late C12, C15, C16 and Cl7, restored and north vestry added in early C19 and later restored in 1881 by F J Robinson. Ashlar sandstone with stone dressings and low pitched slate roofs with stone coped gables, partly hidden by low unembattled flush parapets. Plinth with moulded copings to tower, south side of nave and north aisle, also a plain eaves band to south side of nave and chancel. Western tower, nave and chancel with continuous north aisle chapel and vestry, and south porch. C15 two stage tower has stepped diagonal buttresses to eaves level to all corners and a 3-light four-centred arched window in deep recess with returned hoodmould to west elevation. Above is a small staircase window and in the second stage is a 2-light, louvred bell opening with cusped Y-tracery, set in deep pointed surround with returned hoodmould. Similar bell openings to other sides with clockface over eastern one. Above again, a moulded stringcourse with central gargoyles and embattled parapets with ridgeback copings. North aisle has flat headed 3-light C16 west window with four-centred arched lights, incised spandrels and returned hoodmould, flanked to south by small four-centred arched door and to north by clasping buttresses. North elevation has a moulded four-centred arched doorcase with incised spandrels and returned hoodmould to west, and to east, two flat headed 3-light windows similar to west window of aisle. Beyond, to east, a stepped buttress indicating the start of the north chapel, which has two 3-light cavetto moulded, flat headed windows with cusped lights set in deep cavetto moulded surrounds, that to west partly blocked to base. Beyond again is a C19 vestry with four-centred arched northern doorcase, similar to western one, and a recessed and chamfered east window with cusped iron tracery. East elevation of chancel has central 3-light cavetto moulded window with stepped four-centred arched lights set in triangular headed recess, and gableted buttresses to either corner. Above central window to either side are single light recessed and chamfered Cl7 windows with four-centred arched lights. South elevation of chancel has three 2-light cavetto moulded mullion windows, again with four-centred arched lights and incised spandrels, set in flat headed cavetto moulded recesses, that to west lower than the other two. Between the windows are two gableted buttresses and to central section is a small chamfered four-centred arched door with incised spandrels. Beyond, to west, the nave has two 3-light panel tracery windows in deep cavetto surrounds with hoodmoulds, to either side of both are stepped buttresses. To west is the 1882 south porch with moulded pointed doorcase, flanked by diagonal buttresses and above the porch is a C17 recessed and chamfered clerestory window with leaded lights. Inner doorcase is C12 with semi-circular head and has good panelled Jacobean door with shell motif. Interior has three bay north arcade, two western bays, C12 with semi-circular arches on columns with scalloped capitals, eastern bay with tall double chamfered pointed arch resting on C12 respond to east,. Chancel arch is C19 and spans full width of chancel with soffit moulding on columnar corbels, similar C19 arch through to north chapel from aisle, and from chancel to north chapel. To east of the latter is a lower, possibly early C19 four-centred arch, through from chancel to chapel, acting as a canopy to the tomb of Sir John Port, with cusped panelling to soffit and seat to west side. Tower has a tall, double chamfered C15 arch, to south side of which is a projecting staircase. All roofs are C19, that to nave with pierced cusped panelling filling the trusses. Nave pews, choir stalls, altar and reredos all early C20, chancel furniture with cusped panelling. North chapel has splendid set of 1635 stalls and pulpit, provided for the almsmen. Seats have semi-circular headed panels with strapwork friezes above. Pulpit in similar style dated 1635. To east end of north chapel is a flat headed window with cusped lights, through to the north vestry, which is in Strawberry Gothic Style. It has ogee headed doors with flame finials to architraves, foliage bosses to ribbed ceiling and Gothic Style wall memorials to two of the Cotton family. Nave has white marble octagonal pulpit with coloured marble columns and C15 octagonal font with C18 pine cover. Chancel has an unusual C13 stone lecturn built into the north wall and small arched piscinas to either side of the altar. Numerous monuments, including many to the Port family. To south side of chancel is the tomb niche of Sir John Port who died 1557, which has brasses to the family to the back of the flat-headed niche and finely carved frieze above and base below. Adjacent to east is a marble slab with incised Latin inscription of 1698 to Johannis Jacton and to west is a similar slab set into the wall, with incised figure of lord and lady with Latin inscription to edge, dated 1503. To the north side of the chancel is a similar slab with its brass missing, there are also two classical slate and marble wall memorials, one to Mary Mainwaring of 1741 and the other to Rebecca Beer of 1829. To the west, between the chancel and chapel is the tomb of another Sir John Port, who died 1541. His effigy, flanked by those of his wives are carved in sunken relief leaving a raised border and central band across their figures. The canopy (mentioned earlier) has carved ,spandrels, embattled frieze over and painted coats of arms. In the north chapel is another C16 marble slab set into the wall with Latin inscription to edge, above this is an early C19 wall memorial with relief arcade and scrolls within, to Elizabeth Cotton and Joseph Green. There is another memorial to Cotton family in the north aisle, which' has hawk crest to top. Both aisle and the nave have several other slate and marble memorials, the most notable being that to Jacob Cheetham of c1740, with flat obelisk top and Latin inscription. Four undated hatchments above arcade and one of 1805 over the tower arch, also a small painted charity plaque to north of tower arch. Chapel has two painted coats of arms in cartouches. Stained glass windows dill mid or late C19, with the possible exception of shields in the windows of the north chapel. Listing NGR: SK2688931989

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Grid reference SK 26889 31989 (point)
Map sheet SK23SE

Related Monuments/Buildings (1)

Record last edited

Aug 7 2009 11:02AM

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