Orwell, Cambridgeshire – St Andrew

St Andrew’s church is at TL 362504. We used to come to this village to have an explore of the old chalk pit, now a nature reserve, and I remember watching two steam engines ploughing a field – engine at each end and plough being dragged across. I don’t remember visiting the church, but in those days I hadn’t discovered the windows of Leonard Evetts. A group of five parishes, all of which have open churches (I’ll be back), and a good website at https://www.beneficeorwell.co.uk/

The church is on a steep rise on the north side of the village. No parking, no loo and too many steps – and difficult to see what they could do to change that. Julie stayed in the car with her book. There was probably a church on this site built about 1150, but most of today’s church dates to the 13th and 14th centuries. Tower about c1250, arcades and aisle c1320. In the porch we have boxes of food, not just for a food bank but also for anyone in the community who needs it to come and help themselves. Posh, wealthy Cambridgeshire in the third decade of the 21st century. Interesting cross fragment.

It is a lovely high, light church – and I had forgotten the effect of colourful kneelers. I headed to the chancel, which was rebuilt in 1398 in memory of Sir Simon Burley, Lord of the manor of Orwell and tutor to the youthful Richard II. There was a major rebuild in 1883.

The window was installed in 1958 in memory of Robert Wilmot Whiston, Rector until 1917 I wonder why it took so long to do a window for him?). Readers of this blog will know that Leonard Evetts the designer used to live in my parish of Ponteland and designed many wonderful windows in the North East (and some in Cambridge at Cherry Hinton, already blogged). It shows many scenes of the life of St Andrew including, along the bottom, the baptism of Andrew and John by John the Baptist, the two of them carrying his body, Andrew as a boy leaving his father and brother to be a fisherman, the disciples in a boat piloted by Christ, and the feeding of the five thousand. Beautiful.

The ceiling is rather lovely, and there is a memorial to a former Rector Jeremiah Radcliffe. The website says he was part of the team of scholars who translated the Authorised Version of the Bible. John Knewsteb of Cockfield (one of my previous livings) was another one – more info on that blog post.

Some fascinating ledger stones. I wonder if having Senior Fellows of Trinity as your Vicar meant there was a poor curate looking after you, or whether Cambridge was close enough that the Vicar be regularly be in his parish – and what they made of him.

The organ apparently needs some work. Rather a chunky font. Nice hatchment, and some good bits of carving. A fragment of the cross and St John.

The tower dates to c1250. The clock was installed at Trinity in 1610, and might not have been new then. It came here in 1726. Huge Old (I assume) Vicarage next door, with doorway in hedge. All rather nice.

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