The South Porch

St Mary's Church Porch

Looked at from the outside, the church has stood virtually unchanged since the first half of the 15th century, the building in its present form having been completed between the years 1427 - 1449 during the episcopacy of Bishops Gray and Alnwick, who were successive Bishops of Lincoln and Lords of the Manor at the adjoining Buckden Palace. The south porch, which was a later addition of the same century, is of a slightly grander and more ornate perpendicular style, having decorated pinnacles to its buttresses. Immediately beneath the parapet is a carved stone course running round the sides and the front and having the figures of a monkey, a muzzled bear, a lion, a lamb, a fox stalking geese, a dog and other animals. The upper story of the porch comprises a small room or parvise chamber, said to have at one time housed a library formed by Bishop Kaye; the books are now in the archdeaconal library at Huntingdon. The porch is entered through a simple archway above which is a fairly modern small statue of the Virgin Mary in a niche which would have housed an earlier version, no doubt removed during the zeal of the Reformation. The vaulted roof inside the porch is of extreme simplicity and beauty. Stone ribs curve up from each corner to meet at a central point in a circular stone carving of the Assumption of the Virgin, obviously intended by the original craftsmen to give an impression of radiance, like the sun’s rays, to whoever should look up upon entering. As with most of the interior fabric, it would originally have been richly coloured.

Porch boss

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