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St Lawrence Church - architectural features
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St Lawrence Church
Archaeological evidence shows that at least part of the Chancel (nearest to camera) was standing during the life of the first Cathedral on Old Sarum. Note the rows of flint separated by ashlar (square-hewn stone) used in its construction.
Lozenze Fret Pattern
This Lozenge Fret pattern is Norman so the carving is likely to be from Old Sarum and 900 years old. (Click the link for more details)
The Purbeck stone Font, sited at the rear of the Nave, was originally four-sided but subsequently cut to an octagonal shape. It dates from the late 1100's. The presence in the building of a late 12thC font suggests the existence of a church of that period - or it may have come from elsewhere.
Chancel - south wall
Remains of two late 12thC early English Lancet windows revealed during restorations, indicate the earliest elements of the church structure. One of them is pictured on the right of this image, the remains of the second are in the north wall. The wagon roof ceiling in the Chancel dates from the first half of the 15thC together with 20 elaborate wall-plate bosses carved with grotesque or human heads.
A Piscina is a stone basin that was sited near the altar in pre-Reformation churches for draining water used in the Mass. This one dates from the 13thC and is now used for another purpose. There is a second Piscina (14thC) on the opposite side of the altar, on the south wall.
North wall of chancel - blocked up squint?
It has been suggested this was a squint from an anchorite cell. See https://www.stratfordsubcastle.org.uk/post/was-there-an-anchorite-cell-in-st-lawrence-church
Arch between the nave & chancel
The arch between the Chancel and the Nave dates from the 14th century, so despite the fact that the existing Nave is later means there must have been an earlier structure.
Medieval wall paintings in English churches were typically covered over during the 16thC Reformation. This section of a wall painting has been revealed above the arch between the Nave and the Chancel. There is a further small example on the outside arch of the South door.
The oak Chancel screen is late 15thC/early 16thC in origin with some later restoration.
Nave, looking through to chancel
The walls of the Nave date from the 15th century but may have replaced earlier ones. The wagon ceiling with 14 corbels and 21 bosses was probably installed about 1550. Part of the improvements funded by Thomas Pitt between 1700 and 1713 included the pews.
Worshippers and visitors now enter the church through the South Door into the Nave: the Porch was added during the 16th century.
Queen Anne Royal Coat of Arms
Part of the renovations paid for by benefactor Thomas Pitt in the 18c
The ornamental wooden screen (Reredos) covering the east wall of the Chancel was fitted between 1700-1713 when the most significant improvements to the church since the 14thC were carried out, funded by Thomas Pitt. The Reredos was carved in the style of Grinling Gibbons, the famous 17th Century wood carver whose own works were installed in St Paul's Cathedral, Hampton Court Palace and several London churches.
The fine Jacobean Pulpit dates from the beginning of the 17th century. Beside it is an hour glass in a metal holder. Parish records note the purchase of a bracket from the village forge in April 1651. The hour glass pictured here is a replica, presented to the church in 2017 to replace a previous version that had been stolen some years' ago.
View towards the west tower
The ‘Singing Gallery’ on the West wall was installed in or before 1791.
An important addition to the church in the 19th century was a ‘barrel’ organ built in 1852 that was subsequently enlarged and converted into a key instrument in 1876.
In 1904 vaults under the Nave floor were filled in and the floor was re-laid.
The bust of St Lawrence on the north side of the nave was presented to the church in 1958. It is a plaster copy of San Lorenzo, an original Donatello (c1440) held in a private collection and sometimes displayed in temporary exhibitions. Click the link for more details.
Kneeler depicting St Lawrence
Decorative Kneelers in the church were made between 1958 and 1973 (click the link for more details).
staircase to gallery & tower
This oak staircase was installed in 2002 to provide better and safer access to the Gallery and tower.