« PreviousContinue »
considerable part of the year. Stockton is, however, considered a pretty village. The cottages are many of them picturesque old buildings, well grouped on each side of the road among orchards and gardens, interspersed with many fine trees. In 1838, there were 63 inhabited houses and tenements in the village, and one tenement vacant, and the same in 1845. The eight dwellings in the almshouse are included in the number of inhabited houses.
The Church is dedicated to St. John the Baptist, and contains a chancel, nave, and aisles; a north porch, and a low tower at the west end. The chancel is 16 feet 10 inches long, and 18 feet 6 inches wide. The nave is 36 feet 6 inches long, and the whole width of the nave and aisles is 38 feet. The chancel is separated from the nave by a thick wall, and is entered by a low obtusely arched doorway, recessed, on each side of which is an arched opening or squint. The small arches of the squints are chamfered on the west side of the wall, the door-way on the east side. Two of the brackets which supported the rood loft remain on the west side of the wall. The floor of the chancel is raised only 3 inches above that of the nave, and there are no altar steps. The chancel is Early English, but none of the original work remains, except it be a part of the south wall, and one, or perhaps both of the lancet windows, and retains no interesting features. The north wall was re-built by the Rev. Henry Good, in the beginning of his incumbency, and the east end which had no foundation, and was gradually falling outwards, was re-built in a very substantial manner by the Rev. R. F. St. Barbe, in 1840. The east window consists of 3 lancets, the centre one rising above the others, enclosed in a large outer arch, with an external and internal label, with corbel heads. It is in all respects a fac-simile of the old window, excepting that the old window had a light in the form of a pointed oval, or vesica piscis, over the middle lancet. The lancets are chamfered on the outside, and on the inside are surrounded by a triple roll moulding, which is carried round the head of the outer arch. There are no windows in the north wall. The door in this wall was made by the Rev. R. F. St. Barbe, in 1832. He also raised the ceiling, and put on a new roof when the east end was re-built in 1840. On the removal of the old ceiling,
it appeared that the chancel had been formerly ceiled, in the form of a lofty pointed arch, and that the walls had been painted in oil, on a smooth surface of plaster. Traces of this painting were found under the white-wash, when the east window was scraped, in 1828, and as the old ceiling cut off the upper part of the window, and had preserved the wall above from the white-wash, the design of the painting was clearly made out. The ground was a dull white, marked out by rather wide double lines of black or chocolate, in imitation of regular stone work; on each stone was a black quatrefoil, and a sprig of a dull yellow colour. The splay of the window had larger black quatrefoils at regular distances, without the imitation of stone work. Above the label of the window was inscribed "O come let us worship and fall down, and kneel before the Lord our Maker," Psalm 95, 6. The corbel heads had been painted, and had black eye-brows. The painting was probably not very ancient, but had an ornamental effect. The communion table is of oak, not older perhaps than the time of James I., and was in a very dilapidated state in 1842, when it had a new oak top, and was thoroughly repaired. The altar rails were of the meanest description until December, 1847, when Mr. St. Barbe presented to the church a very handsome oak railing. There are two square pews in the chancel.
The nave has on each side two lofty pointed arches, supported by low heavy pillars, and respond; with square capitals, and bases of transition Norman character. The arches are recessed, and chamfered on both sides. The capitals of the piers differ on the south side of the nave; on the north side they are alike, though that of the respond at the west end varies in some respects, and is peculiar in its form. The wall on each side connecting the piers and arches with the chancel, is pierced with a small arch, pointed; that on the south side moulded round, the arch on the north side, chamfered. The tower arch is early English, recessed and widely chamfered, supported on half columns with only a 2-inch round at the spring of the arch in the place of a cap. In the wall above was a lancet window to give light from the church into the tower; it is now plastered up. The clerestory is perpendicular, with three
square-headed two-light windows on each side; the heads of the lights are cinquefoiled. The north aisle, at least the west end of it, is probably of the same period as the piers and arches in the nave, and contains one of the original obtusely pointed lancets in the west wall, and there is a projecting stone, near which seems to be part of a vaulted ceiling over the aisle. The east end of this aisle has been re-built and widened to receive the monument of the founder of Stockton House; and the three-light window in the east wall was probably inserted at that time. Some fragments of windows used up in raising the walls of the porch, probably belong to this aisle. The south aisle is considered to be of decorated character, and is the most interesting part of the church. It has a doorway, obtusely pointed, and two square headed windows of two lights, with trefoiled ogee heads in the south wall; and a window of the same kind at each end. There is a plain piscina at the east end of the south wall, and near the centre of this wall was a pointed arch, moulded, about seven feet high, serving as a canopy over a female effigy, reclining on the left side, her feet resting on a dog. There is a handsome oak roof with moulded beams over this aisle. This part of the church was thoroughly repaired in the year 1844.
The monumental effigy before mentioned, was found half buried at the foot of the wall, the arch over it having been mutilated and partly walled up, to receive a large marble tablet to the memory of Henry Greenhill, who died in 1708. A skeleton was discovered about three feet below the effigy, the bones of which were carefully collected and buried in a small cavity made in the foundation of the new wall, close to the place where they were found. The effigy was removed to the only situation where it could be exposed to view in the new wall; viz., under the window near the west end, where an arched recess was formed to receive it, lower, but similar to the original one; the first stones of the arch being those which supported the old one. The effigy was, perhaps, at first, on a level with the floor; but it was thought best to raise it on a low tomb in its new situation, that it might be seen to more advantage. Nothing is known as to the person represented by this figure; but
as the mouldings correspond with the other mouldings in the aisle, and the arch was evidently formed when the old wall was erected, it is supposed to be the monument of the person who rebuilt the south aisle, and probably founded a chantry there in the decorated period. That there was a chantry in this aisle is proved by the discovery of a piscina at the east end of the south wall, behind the brass which commemorates Elizabeth Poticary, who died A.D. 1590. The arch of the piscina had been destroyed, that the stone to which the brass is attached might be let into the wall. The drain and the fragments of the first stones of the arch over it, were the only remains of the piscina. It was restored when the south wall was rebuilt, the mouldings of the arch being copied from the fragments of the old one. It was impossible to make out the form of the original arch, but some pieces of the broken mouldings led to the supposition that it might have been of an ogee form, similar to the heads of the window lights. The stone brackets which support the north side of the roof of this aisle, are the old ones; those in the south wall are new. The coats of arms in front of these brackets, are those of the See of Winchester, (the Bishop of that see being patron of the Rectory,) of the Rector; and of the lord of the manor. The shield at the west end of the wall bears the cross of St. George. The corbel heads over the east and west windows, are also new; that over the west window replacing an old one, of which only a fragment remained. The font is of Transition Norman character, probably of the same date as the nave piers, to which it bears a strong resemblance, being a heavy short pillar on a square base, with a circular capital hollowed out for the bowl. It is lined with lead, and has a drain and a modern inappropriate The old staples, used to fasten down the cover, remain. It stands in its original place under the western arch, on the south side of the nave. The font was thoroughly restored in 1844. The pulpit is of carved oak, of rather a handsome pattern, probably not older than the time of James I. or Charles I. The seats in the church are principally old oak benches, with plain standards. The west end of the nave is disfigured by a modern gallery of painted deal. There is accommodation in the church and chancel for about
215 persons. The stonework of the piers and arches and the window frames, excepting the three windows on the south side of the clerestory, has been cleared of whitewash, and in doing this, much of the painting with which the walls were once decorated, was exposed. Nothing that could be called a picture, or figure, was discovered. The best specimen was found behind the pulpit, where a part of it may be seen under the seat. The pillar by the reading desk and wall above it, were coloured with red ochre, on which was a pattern in black or chocolate, of entwined branches and leaves. On the west front of the pillar, was a large circle enclosing a shield, in which, on a greyish ground, was the monogram I.H.S. in red letters, the upper part of the H formed into a cross.
On the wall over the entrance to the chancel, the painting was in a different style, and better executed. The ground here was grey, the pattern shades of grey and black, with a few touches of red the design was a grove of palm trees. All the painting was in distemper, probably on the original plaster, the surface being extremely rough. On several of the coats of whitewash which covered the painting, were found texts of scripture in old English character, the letters black and red. The east wall of the nave seemed to have been once nearly covered with inscriptions, including the Commandments and texts of Scripture, as was also the wall above the arches on the north side of the nave. Only two of the texts were legible; namely, one on the east wall above the pulpit; "Give the King thy judgments, O God, and thy righteousness unto the King's son." And on the north wall, "It is not good that the man should be alone, I will make him an help meet for him." The texts were generally enclosed in borders, some of them of good design. As the painting was done in water colour, the greater part of it came off with the white-wash, and only a small specimen on the east wall could be left exposed. There was formerly some painted glass in the centre light of the window at the east end of the north aisle, the fragments of which are preserved. They are the remains of the coat of arms of the Topps, the same as those over the almshouse gateway; there had been an escutcheon of pretence in the middle. Among the frag