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St Peter, Goodworth Clatford
Goodworth Clatford, as one approaches the church from the east, is a seemingly inconsequential little village, with 20th century housing lining the narrow road, and little in the way of village centre amenities. There is a nice big farm house to the west of the church, and a very sympathetic modern housing development to the north which is primarily constructed of flint and brick in the Hampshire tradition. There is also a curious tumbledown water tower of timber to the north east. However, the main part of the village is further west, with the Royal Oak pub and a varied mix of mostly modern housing and a number of thatched cottages. To the south is the Clatford Arms, which has an imposing timber framed house and another thatched cottage opposite.
The church is prominently placed to the east of the village, and consists of nave and chancel under a continuous tiled roof, gabled north and lean-to south aisles (the latter lead covered), north organ chamber to the east of the north aisle, vestry to the north of the organ chamber, west tower with shingled spire, and south porch. The church is interesting and memorable, thanks to its Decorated stone tower (an unusual feature in Hampshire), and the nave arcades. The churchyard is mainly to the east, where it is well stocked with 19th and 20th century gravestones . To the south they have been cleared, and laid flat at the edges to create pathways (1).
Chronology of the building
The chronological story of the church is quite complicated, with most of the medieval periods represented. As so often in Hampshire, the earliest architectural evidence is late 12th century, as represented by many of the arches within the church. The nave may be earlier, but in any case the south arcade is a classic piece of Transitional architecture of c.1190. There is no mention of a church in the Domesday book.
Norman/Transitional: The south arcade, together with the east arch of the north arcade and the chancel arch, probably represent the earliest architectural evidence in the church, but the sequence of the building is not at all clear. Firstly, a description is required:
There are several questions that need to be considered. Firstly, was arch C-D, which has the distinction of dogtooth on the label, built during the same campaign as the rest of the arcade further west, or during a later campaign. Pevsner sees it as a later decision in the early 13th century to join the two western bays of c.1190 with the transept arch. This is persuasive, considering the fact that the western bays exhibit entirely Romanesque motifs apart from their pointed arches. On the other hand, the fact that the arch is otherwise exactly the same suggests that it is part of the same build, which may have progressed slowly. Furthermore, although pier C has a jumbled capital with what appear to be vertical splits in both its north and south faces, neither this, the column or the base appear to have originally been a respond (which they would have been if the arcade was originally intended without arch C-D). Indeed the respond was probably simple like respond A, so pier C could only be interpreted as copying the column and base of pier B, and reusing older detail for its capital (3). There is no denying, however, that the dogtooth frieze is far more elegant than the capital of C.
The second question concerns the date of the transept arches, and more particularly whether they date from before, after, or during the building of the rest of the south arcade (with or without the contentious dogtooth bay). Pevsner considers the transept arches to be either contemporary with or a few years earlier than the arcade, while the Victoria County History considers them slightly later (3). In any case, their different style and quality suggest that they were not built during the same campaign.
The third question concerns the date of the chancel arch. The style is similar to the transept arches and was probably built during the same campaign. On the other hand, this would mean that the responds were not constructed in a uniform style, as a comparison with the east respond of pier D (probably the only original transept respond) clearly shows.
Early English: The chancel windows, if they can be relied upon, show that the chancel was either rebuilt or remodelled in the second half of the 13th century. However, much has been renewed, including all the windows and the east quoins. The walling also looks new, with close set, roughly knapped flints .
The east window is of three lights, effectively three lancets set together and divided by mullions . The middle light is wider and taller, and all three have cusped soffits. In the south wall are two pairs of similar lancets, one pair in the middle of the wall and one pair to the west . Between them is a continuously chamfered priests' doorway with a slight point to the arch which is entirely renewed but if faithfully reproduced could be contemporary with the chancel arch . The north wall apparently had the same window scheme, but the organ chamber, which is a later western extension to the north aisle, has covered up and reused the west lancet pair. The pair in the middle of the chancel wall is just to the east of the organ chamber .
All of the chancel windows are widely splayed inside, with a chamfered segmental rere-arch. The splays look smooth and new, as do the sills, but the rere arches may be original (at least for the side windows). The south-east window has a dropped sill to create a sedilia, but it all looks renewed . The south-west is now part of an organ recess. Part of the rere-arch and west splay remain, and also the top part of the window tracery, although this is probably renewed. The recess now has a curiously rounded sill. The rere-arch of the priest's doorway looks original, with chamfered segmental head and unchamfered jambs.
In the south-east corner of the chancel is a piscina, probably also late 13th century, with a heavy chamfered arch rising from stop chamfers . It has a shallow bowl and small shelf above which is probably renewed.
Decorated: By c.1300 the church apparently consisted of nave, chancel, south aisle and transepts. It may also have had a tower, but of this nothing remains, unless the fragments of Romanesque sculpture, such as the stone with zigzag mouldings which is built into the west wall of the south aisle , came from such a structure. In any case, the first half of the 14th century saw the construction of the north arcade, and therefore a north aisle, and also the current west tower. The north arcade is detailed below:
The other major contribution of this period is the west tower, which the Victoria County History dates c.1340 . It is particularly memorable for being constructed entirely of ashlar stone, and for being without buttresses. This, and the fact that the belfry windows are simply small lancets with ogee heads (4) might suggest a slightly earlier date, although the stylish (and clearly Decorated) plinth moulding looks forward to Perpendicular tower design.
The ground stage of the tower has a pair of ogee lights to the west, which has a renewed mullion. It has a deep and wide splay and a rounded segmental arch significantly taller than the window lights. Inside, much of the tower's stone work was dressed vertically, but some stones were dressed diagonally. The stonework clearly changes texture at the point of the tower arch responds, becoming smoother and closely jointed. This is particularly apparent on the north side. The tower arch is probably later, as suggested by the Victoria County History. It is in any case tall and unchamfered, and the arch is off centre, so that the apex is to the south. Above this is a string course with a chamfered moulding, at which point the tower narrows. Above the string course is a small ogee light in the west wall (5). The top of the tower is finished with a flat parapet, and has a string course with gargoyles at the centre of each face and at the angles. All of these look original.
Perpendicular: Against the east wall of the north aisle, to the north and south of the former east window, are four carved corbels which are early Perpendicular in style (e.g. later 14th century). To the left is a large corbel with a carved head and shoulders on the underside, with wavy clothing and a hood still a recognisably 14th century style. To the right is a large moulded corbel, the underside of which continues as a moulded capital, with leaf decoration where it meets the nave wall. Below these are smaller partly octagonal moulded corbels, the one to the right slightly shorter than the other.
The aisles were apparently rebuilt during the Perpendicular period, and the corbels suggest that they were perhaps also built in the later 14th century (unless they were reused from somewhere). If the church still had recognisable transepts up to this point they were apparently swept away during the rebuilding of the aisles to leave only the arches as evidence of their former existence.
The walling of the south aisle looks tidied up, consisting of whole and knapped flints, and some blocks of stone . The moulded plinth, often a good sign of 14th-15th century rebuilding, looks partly original to the east of the porch, but a fair amount has also been renewed. There are three two-light square headed windows (with hood moulds) in the south wall , and one in the east , all of which look renewed. The walling of the north aisle seems older at first glance, with several huge flints . However, it is partly rendered which helps suggest an antiquity which may not in fact be accurate. The plinth moulding is renewed, as are the two square headed windows, which are plainer than those in the south aisle in that they do not exhibit hood moulds. The west window is different again in having a segmental (not square) top with a quatrefoil in the head, and is again renewed.
The jambs and rere-arches of the windows look mostly original, with a hollow chamfer to the segmental heads. The original east window of the north aisle now forms part of a recess for the organ, and only the segmental rere-arch remains. It was apparently larger than the east window in the south aisle, and possibly of three lights. In the south aisle is also a simple piscina with continuous arch and stop chamfers, and an original bowl . Indeed it may all be original. It has painted leaf decoration on the chamfer and a border of semi-circles around the arch.
19th Century: Much restoration took place in the 19th century, which is most apparent on the exterior. White's directory of 1859 mentions repairs in 1851, at the cost of £200. It included the renewal of virtually all of the church's architectural features, and the tidying up if not the rebuilding of the flint walls. Nevertheless, restoration work by and large seemed to remain faithful to the older work (although I have not seen any pre-restoration photographs or illustrations of the church), in a way that didn't happen at Longparish, and the church has retained an individual character. Inside much more original medieval work survives, although the nave floor was tiled in red and black, and the roofs were partially or entirely rebuilt.
Some additional building also took place. According to the Victoria County History the spire and organ chamber were added during the 1860s,and this is also suggested by White's directories, since no spire or organ chamber is mentioned in 1859, although they are mentioned in White's directory of 1878. The organ chamber was built of rocky flints to the east of the north aisle, with a three light east window in the same style as the chancel windows, but made of a different stone . The spire is a simple splayfoot type covered with shingles.
The south porch was, according to the inscription stone above the south doorway, erected in 1872 . It has a flint and stone base with a timber structure above with open arched panels . The south doorway is entirely new, although the original unchamfered jambs and chamfered segmental rere-arch still remain inside. It is of unsympathetic stone with thin continuous mouldings, looking more Victorian than medieval in style.
The north vestry is a small domestic lean-to structure, with a wooden framed window to the north, and externally pebble rendered . This came later although I do not know the date. Finally, the lych gate to the south-west of the church dates from 1890. It has a brick and flint base and simple wooden top with scissor braced roof and arched sides.
20th Century: The chronological story of the church does not stop there. There is a substantial modern addition to the north of the church which provides kitchen and other facilities . It consists of a broad passageway from the church to what is effectively an octagon, which itself merges with other rooms to the east, creating an interesting and complicated shape. The walls of the octagon are rendered, with square wooden windows and windows lining the top . There is a large gabled window to the east.
The Norman font is a restored Purbeck marble table type with tapering sides . The top has light mouldings, and the sides have interest designs. To the south and east are six depressed round arches. The west face has four depressed round arches with a smaller round arch within the northernmost arch, which also exhibits part of a large circle . To the right of the arches are two circles and part of a larger circle. The north face has no arches but two rectangular panels, each with a St Andrews cross within a wavy square field . The font stands on a central fat column with four smaller columns at the angles. They have heavy vertical grooves from when they were dressed, and are either heavily restored or renewed. Moulded base with spurs, and a circular plinth of stone below.
At the west end of the south aisle are two commandment boards which are either late 18th or early 19th century. The church also has three paintings, which help give the church a special character. All of them look late 18th to early 19th century (e.g. 1790-1820). The large painting above the west screen is of Christ and a woman taken in adultery. It is quite enjoyable, if a little naive. In the north-west corner of the north aisle is a small baptism of Christ with rather odd characterisation (especially of Christ). Further east is a larger painting of the nativity, with Mary and Child nicely lit against an otherwise dark background.
Otherwise the furnishings are all later 19th to 20th century and are pleasant and simple. They include the pews, west screen (a world war I memorial), organ, eagle lectern with buttresses, perpendicular style pulpit , and choir stalls.
The chancel has two tablets by Kellow of Winchester, dated †1830 and †1835. The first is a white sarcophagus on a dark background, and the other is a tablet within a slate grey arched frame.
The south aisle has a simple tablet with a small urn above, †1833 and also by Kellow. Also a small tablet c.1963. At the back of the nave are two Iremonger tablets, c.1928.
The church has quite a few stained glass windows, although none are outstanding. Apart from the south aisle south-west window, I do not currently know any of firms or artists involved. The aisle windows make an unusual and individual group.
1. A picture on the Hantsphere website- www.hantsphere.org.uk shows the church, apparently c.1920, with a well stocked churchyard to the south, prior to the removal of the gravestones. Back to "St Peter, Goodworth Clatford"
2. Describing this arch, the Victoria County History says "its eastern half has been rebuilt and widened, but the west jamb is unaltered". It similarly suggests that the same applies to the north arch and respond opposite. Back to "Description of the south arcade"
3. The VCH suggests that the nave was originally shorter, its eastern extent perhaps represented by pier D. It also suggests that the original chancel was situated in the current east bay of the nave, and that soon after the building of the three bay south arcade (which the VCH dates c.1180), a new chancel was built in c.1190, together with north and south transepts. This theoretical building sequence neatly implies that the south arcade was built in one campaign, although if the windows are reliable the chancel appears to have been either remodelled or rebuilt yet again in the later 13th century. Back to "Norman/Transitional"
4. The VCH reports that the belfry windows have modern brick rere-arches. Back to "Decorated"
5. The walling in the middle of the tower has, or had, according to both the VCH, Pevsner, and the church guide, a number of 12th century carved stones built into it, including zigzag and diaper work. These are no longer obvious when viewing the outside of the tower. Have they been replaced? Back to "Decorated"
6. In praise of a good wife: ...and she helps the poor and the needy. [From the Contemporary English Version of the Bible]. Back to "Stained glass"
- Burroughs, H. A brief historical guide to the church of St Peter Goodworth Clatford, Hampshire [church guide], no date.
- Page, W. (ed). The Victoria History of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight: Vol.4. Constable, 1911
- Pevsner, N & Lloyd, D. Hampshire and the Isle of Wight. Penguin, 1967
- White, W. History, Gazetteer, and Directory of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, 1859
- White, W. History, Gazetteer, and Directory of the County of Hampshire including the Isle of Wight, 1878
- www.astoft.co.uk/arch/index.htm Includes some pictures of the church, and narratives from Pevsner.
- www.hantsphere.org.uk Includes a picture of the church from the south-east , apparently c.1920, before clearance of the graves to the south.
Questions for further research
1. Does a pre-restoration photograph or illustration of the church exist, and if so where?
2. What is the precise dates of the organ chamber, spire and vestry?
3. What is the date of the modern complex to the north of the nave?
4. What are the dates of the chancel windows, and who produced them?
5. Who are the artists of the south aisle east, south-east and central windows?
6. Who is the artist of the north aisle north-east window?
7. What is the history the the north aisle north-west window, who produced it, and what is its date?
© Copyright 2004, Barry Meehan