We continued to the village of Ramsbury, still in Wiltshire (and in the Diocese of Salisbury). It looks a village worth exploring, but it was a bit late and a bit damp – so I left Julie in the car and walked down to Holy Cross church, SU274716. I walked past a beautiful old Rectory – I bet there is some money being spent here – and went in through the north side of the churchyard, round past the impressive tower, and in through the 1891 porch. A grade 1 listed church, but nothing about the building on the team website. The leaflet I picked up says there is a guidebook – but I don’t remember finding one. (14 November – yes, there is a guidebook. A leaflet with some nice line drawings. I’ve just found it on my study floor). There is listing details at British listed buildings – but that is very good on the abbreviations!
The village is north of the Roman Road, and may well have been settled in Saxon times. From 909 to 1058 a bishop resided in the village, later the diocese was linked with Sherborne, then given a new base at Old Sarum, then down the road in Salisbury. The original Saxon minster would have stood on this site. Most of the church dates to the C13 and C14, and there was a major restoration in 1891. At this point the south wall was demolished and some wonderful Saxon carvings were found. This website – says “Three large stone fragments make up part of a 9th-11th century cross-shaft that is locally referred to as ‘the great cross of Ramsbury’. These ancient fragments have now been reconstructed as best as can be. On the front face is a rather “friendly” looking serpent that is coiled-up in a lengthwise position and, strangely enough, it appears to be biting its own body, whilst in between and around it there is some very nice interlacing in the form of long, interweaving plant stems or tendrils. This is said to be of Anglo/Danish origins and of the Ringerike-style of carving, something that was popular in Wessex at this particular time in history. The sides and the top section of the cross have knot-work and circles or wheels. On the opposite side there is more interlacing and another creature. And there are some fragments of a second Anglo-Saxon cross-shaft.”
You can look up and enjoy the building – here is the Nave and the Chancel.
You can also look round for all sorts of fascinating bits of stone. I love this Green Man, and there’s a lot of ancient stone.
There are some more recent memorials – if you can call 1682 “recent”. The top is Sir William Jones, Attorney General to Charles II, who died in 1682. Next (left), 1786, to Henry Read, by van Gelder, a weeping figure holding urn with grey marble pyramid background (when I go I want a memorial with my wife weeping). Right, quoting British listed buildings, “William Jones, 1775, by LF Moore of London, black, white and red marbles Tablet and above, on wide black obelisk, a bust with medallion and drapes held aside by putti. Above a sarcophagus and crowning pediment.” Perhaps my memorial tablet should have putti as well, or a smiling skull as on the bottom one.
The organ has recently had some work done, and there is some nice Victorian stained glass. I didn’t photo more of the glass because it was getting a bit grey. The colours in the churchyard were still lovely – how many greens are there.