Thursday, 21 August 2008


I am very fond of the little, ancient Church of Saint Nicholas of Myra at Ozelworth. Of any of the churches I've described here this is probably the most isolated and difficult to find but well worth it.

The church consists of an octagonal Norman Tower, which originally functioned as the nave, and a square-ended chancel. In Victorian Times a more conventional nave was built beyond the tower.

The churchyard has been tidied up a bit more than it used to be, which I think is rather a pity. That said there were some large white field mushrooms growing there yesterday.

There is a nice medieval porch which has helped preserve a good richly carved 13th. Century door surround. The porch is inhabited by numerous swallows, so if you visit please close the main church door to prevent them gaining entry and being trapped inside.There is not much to be said for the Victorian nave except that it makes for rather more convenient accommodation than the base of the tower, but it is rather dark and fairly featureless. It is now furnished by really bad modern, (cheap), chairs, but once had some more acceptable pews. ( I've seen a photograph of the nave with those in place).

The view up into the tower is impressive, especially when you think that this is a very quiet tucked away corner of the world.

There are two arches between the Victorian Nave and the chancel both Norman. As you can see the first if very heavily carved in a fairly unusual deeply undercut toothed design. There is an arch in Saint Mary's gate in the precincts of Gloucester Cathedral with very similar carving.

The chancel furnishing is mainly Victorian but has a medieval atmosphere. I like the long panels of red material. There is some half decent stained glass and everything is in commemoration of members of the Clutterbuck family of nearby Newark Park, which is now owned by the National Trust.

To find the church: I think the best way is to branch off the A46 at the Calcot traffic lights, ( which is a funny set of traffic lights right out in the countryside). Take the road towards Wotton-under-Edge, and watch for signs to Newark Park, N.T. Take the left turning towards Newark and continue down the lane for about 1 1/2 miles, past the telecommunications mast, past the entrance to Newark Park, ( quite simple), and about 1/4 mile further on , on the left, you will come to a set of gates with stone eagles. Go through the unpainted wooden gate to the left of the main gates. You will shortly come to a drive, turn left along the drive. You are now skirting Ozelworth Park, a fine and substantial regency house, ( a bit too scrubbed up, I think). Go through the gap in the beech hedging on the right and cross the stable yard. The church is in front of you. There are sign posts but they are almost invisible.

BTW the churchyard is circular and may well mark the sight of a pre-Christian religious site.

1 comment:

Mac McLernon said...

You've been nominated for an award...