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CUCKNEY

So far as can be learnt from the existing remains, there NORTON was a church here in Norman times, and the 12th century CHURCH doorway between the porch and the nave, the western halfpier and one column of the arcade between the nave and the north aisle, and a piscina in the nave are still left in almost as good a condition as when they were built. The church appears to have been re-built in the 13th century, and the remains of this work are the tower (up to the belfry stage), the porch, the walls of the chancel and two of the piers, with clustered columns of the arcade between the nave and north aisle. The 13th century building was remarkable for its great length, the extreme length from east to west externally is 145ft. the chancel being 33ft. long internally, the nave 79ft., and the tower 18ft. The nave was evidently again re-built in the 15th century, and the south wall with its three Perpendicular windows remains as then erected. The chancel arch and tower arch are also of this date, and probably the jambs of the wider east window, and one window in the south side of the chancel, now half buried in the walls, but visible outside and inside, though it is possible that these may be the jambs of the original 13th century windows. The two octagonal piers of the nave arcade and the half pier at the east end are also of the 15th century. The nave arcade seems to have been re-built in the time of Elizabeth with semi-circular arches, the double-splayed mouldings being probably similar to those of the 15th century arcade, and a row of square-headed clerestory windows above. arcade leans 6in. outwards.

This

The north aisle appears to have been re-built at the same time, four of the windows being similar, but this wall was apparently built on insecure foundations, and tilts about 8in. outwards from the ground level to just below the eaves, a height of only 10ft., notwithstanding the very heavy buttresses which have prevented it from falling. The stones of these buttresses are evidently old ones re-used, one stone coffin lid of the 13th or 14th century having been cut in two and built in the sides of one of the buttresses. Other

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similar coffin lids were used as internal sills to the windows of this wall.

The windows of the chancel seem to have been renewed in the late 16th century, with semi-circular heads to the lights, but without the cusped tracery of the preceding period. The stonework of the east window was restored in 1892 to receive the stained glass memorial window. The walls of the vestry and organ chamber were probably built in the 16th century, and may have formed a chapel, but only one of the windows is contemporary. It was used as a school in after years. The upper part of the tower seems to date from the 16th or early 17th century, and the window in the older portion above the west door is an insertion of that period.

The church was restored (?) in 1831-2, and the roofs were entirely reconstructed of a low pitch and with flat plastered ceilings, those of the nave and north aisle being divided by wood beams longitudinally and transversely, and the inside face of the north aisle was blocked up with wood and plaster to make it appear upright. On the south side of the nave a stone cornice with a classic moulding was superimposed on the Gothic cornice, the moulded front of which was hacked off, and the whole of the external walls, except those of the chancel, were coated with rough cast, the stone being punched and hacked to form a key. The nave floor was then re-laid at the same level as the chancel, and the moulded bases of the arcade piers were partially buried. Two galleries were built in the nave, one at the east end and the other at the west end. The pulpit was placed near the south door, and the church re-seated with high pews of various shapes and sizes, the passage up the nave being considerably out of the centre. The gallery in the east end of the nave was removed in 1876 to make room for the organ.

In 1907, thanks largely to the generosity of the Duke of Portland, the church, which badly needed it, was restored. The ground on the west and south sides was lowered to its original level, disclosing the bases and plinths of the porch

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