Thursday, June 23, 2011

Onibury, Shropshire

Art and craft

As a final post in this short series about buildings in the Ludlow area of Shropshire, here’s the interior of the parish church of St Michael at Onibury, a mainly 14th century church, but with older portions, such as the very plain chancel arch, surviving from the Norman period. Still more visual impact, though, comes from the restoration at the beginning of the 20th century. And, unlike many church restorations, this was very much for the good, because the job was done in the Arts and Crafts tradition by Detmar Blow.

It’s the furnishings that catch the eye – oak pews and stalls, lights on upright posts with simple metal and glass lampholders, and the elegant west gallery, its front a grid of oak verticals and horizontals. Blow’s fittings beautifully set off the pale plastered interior with the semi-circular chancel arch and the rough but beautiful woodwork of the nave roof, just visible beyond the arch in my photograph.

A finishing touch is provided by the royal arms of the then new king, Edward VII, with their characterful lion and unicorn supporters. There’s so much going on in these arms – don’t miss the king’s monogram, ‘ED VII’ on either side of the helm and crest at the top; or the elegant black and white uprights (I’m not sure of the correct heraldic term) on which the lion and unicorn lean; or the foliage on either side of the date at the bottom. It’s an accomplished design carried out with painstaking attention to detail: art and craft indeed.


Peter Ashley said...

In the mid 1970s I regularly saw the incumbent of this church, a lovely tall, gracious man. By this time he was living with his daughter on Dartmoor, who recalled to me only a few weeks ago running down the vicarage garden with her sister to where 'the choo-choo gate' opened out onto the platform of Onibury station. Here they would wait for their father's train to shuffle in, Railway Children style.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Peter: A lovely story. One is very aware of the railway round here, with the nearby level crossing and so on.