Monday, October 6, 2014
Thorpe Mandeville, Northamptonshire
On my way to an important meeting over lunch in a pub, my eye was caught by this small church, dating mostly to the early-14th century. The thing that particularly attracted me was the tower. This has a small pitched roof, a design known in archi-speak as a saddleback tower. But while the saddlebacks that I’m used to (on the Cotswolds, like this example) have a roof that overhangs the walls like any other pitched roof, this one is tucked behind a parapet. The masons who built it also added a small collection of rather large pinnacles, richly ornamented with crockets, in typical 14th-century style. 14th-century style, but some of the details may be Victorian, as the tower was restored in 1898.
These pinnacles, together with corner gargoyles and a tiny carved figure on the tower’s east wall, just above the nave roof, set this tower apart and help what is otherwise a simple-looking little church stand out. My appreciation is only from the outside, however. The church was locked on the day I passed by and I didn’t have time to contact the keyholder. One day I must return and try to get inside. Returning to old buildings, after all, is usually a good idea. You nearly always see something that you missed the first time round.