Relhan Collection : 108 Chesterton church. W view

Relhan, Richard, 1782-1844

Relhan Collection

<p style='text-align: justify;'><p>St Andrews church belonged, like Chesterton Tower, to the canons at Vercelli, and it was presumably they who rebuilt the C13 church, of which little survived the grandiose designs of C14-15. The church, which the usually-critical Cole described as ‘one of the most beautiful large and lightsome country churches in the county’ and where many gilds in the parish supported work on the church fabric, was given by Henry VI to King’s Hall c. 1440, and this later building must have been basically what Relhan recorded and which <i>looks</i> remarkably unchanged today. However, this impression is wrong, for the tower and magnificent spire he shows had been demolished and rebuilt (tower 1840, spire 1847 and again in 1968 when the top third needed to be rebuilt) but always faithfully restoring the original stonework. The S porch was demolished in 1840, chancel and nave were part of the rebuilding in 1861, the nave was reroofed 1879-80 and aisles rebuilt C19. There is new fenestration in the W windows which was opened in the restorations of 1880. Bell witnessed this last restoration by William Smith and describes the many medieval features that were revealed but is scathing as usual about the needless extent of the work. The approach to restoration, aiming at faithful replication of medieval buildings, was ruled by the Cambridge Camden Society, founded 1839, whose mission was to medievalise English churches. Its members took a particular interest in St Andrew’s, just a short walk from Cambridge. Their influence on church restoration throughout the rest of C19 was profound. One frequent visitor to the church, while a student at Cambridge, was the diarist Samuel Pepys. He had family connections in the area, especially at Impington manor (<b>229</b>) and records the pleasure he took in walking here, returning to Cambridge via the romantic ruins of Barnwell Priory (<b>18</b>).</p><p>Bradley and Pevsner 2014; Palmer 1932; Duffy 2005; VCH 1989; Bell 2013</p></p>


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