Friday, 6 June 2014

Thaxted Church

The parish church in Thaxted is one of the grandest and most beautiful churches you'll find anywhere in Britain. It stands on a low hill and soars above the town from whichever direction you approach it. Shall we take a look inside?

Once inside there's not much a snapper-in-a-hurry can do to do it justice. But we'll try.

The church was begun in 1340 but largely dates from the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries and has a tall and narrow nave with wider side aisles.

The above two photos each show part of the rather remarkable pulpit which dates from 1680. It deserves a picture of its own...

Before I came I'd done a little research and knew that there was a rather special tapestry to be seen....

It's rather frayed and faded, as it has every right to be, having been made in Flanders in the sixteenth century.

There's also a candelabra that I wanted to see....

Thaxted's website describes it succinctly:

The Stellar, the great star-shaped candelabra which hangs in the cross-aisle, was designed by the architect, Randall Wells. It was originally designed for St Mary’s Church, Primrose Hill, London NW3, but was never erected there. It has been in Thaxted Church since 1910 and tells the Christmas story, Matthew 1. 1-17. There are 42 lights made up of 3 x 14. There were 14 generations from Abraham to King David, 14 generations from King David to the Flight into Egypt, and 14 generations from the Flight into Egypt to the birth of Jesus Christ in Bethlehem. The ball below the 42 lights symbolises the world; therefore, Jesus, the Light of the World.

But what a surprise to see something like this in a church....

Might this be something to do with the colourful Rev Conrad Noel? Or one of his equally eccentric successors?

Then there's this modern but traditional piece of carving...

And an older example....

This is the font cover, part of a carved wooden fifteenth century font case which completely hides the font itself.

And an enormous organ....

This is the Lincoln Organ which was played by Gustav Holst during his time living in the town. 

What else? Well, a good deal that I overlooked or failed to photograph. But I see that the sun is shining in through the windows...

So lets just take one more look up the nave towards the chancel....

Then go outside into the sunshine once more...

Take care. 
And I ought to share this with you all - a comment which turned up on a fairly recent post and appears to be addressed to all of us:

Hi John, (& everyone)
I'm just writing to say thanks for your fantastic review of The Great British Sculpture Show 2014! Andy and I are thrilled with the response from your audience and the public in general - we really wanted to create an exhibition that was both inspiring and fun as well as displaying the talent and craftsmanship of our artists to create sculptures that have a real 'wow' factor! 

Thank you. Diane Coates, Co-curator of The Great British Sculpture Show.


  1. This is such a beautiful church! I love all the photos here and the details are wonderful!

  2. Thaxted Church is indeed a beauty John.. must say the white stone arches made my knees go weak :) I have a thing about arches so you can imagine the effect of the last two images.. the painted armmoire was a bit of a surprise find! Your fourth shot is a delight of shapes and shadows and you're so right, quite often church pulpits are more than deserving of their own shot. I wonder why the Stellar chandelier was never hung in St. Mary's.. oh well their loss oui!

  3. An enchanting tour of the church - many a cathedral ought to be envious :-)
    You have a knack of showing the most gorgeous photos in a low-key, but humorous way that I appreciate very much.

  4. I really wished my last visit to Thaxted wasn't a rushed one and we had the time to go in. It's such a bright and welcoming Church. Thanks for your posts on Thaxted so far. It was a lot quieter the last time I was there. Lovely place!

  5. Quite right John, it is one of the most beautiful churches I have ever been in. Thanks for the tour.

  6. What a lovely and historic church. Here in the U.S. churches always have pews--big heavy wooden things that are usually permanently mounted to the floor. European and British churchs seem to have the kind of seating that you could fold up and put away--possibly to use the floor of the church for something fun. Dancing, maybe? :)

  7. I find the 4th pic particularly appealing , but the whole church is full of beauty and surprises. The tapestry seems most unusual as it looks like cut pieces of cloth sewn on rather than embroidery. And the very active angels seem very modern. Very pleasing.


  8. this church sure is GRAND ..what is this construction type called? It looks to be of little pebbles. I'd love to see how they did that. My it's so well maintained and beautiful inside too. I can't but help think how cold it might be sitting over the bricks in winter though. A lovely accolade added for your finale' - nice to get that response. Carole,

  9. It is a most handsome church, John. That colorful cupboard is the item that most held my eye today.

    The commentary about the sculpture show confused me, because I didn't remember seeing your photos from the show. So, I went backward and found them. (Your post was during my drive north from Florida, when I didn't have a lot of blog-viewing time.) The sculptures are quite nice. I like representational art, and those were fine examples.

  10. The church is a grand one indeed! And the pulpit IS quite unusual. The tapestry is still in fairly good shape, although it does make me feel sad that textiles don't last as well as wood and stone or even paint.

  11. Beautiful church. Thank you.


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