Touching Place

ST JAMES, CHIPPING CAMPDEN, GLOS

You’re deep into Perpendicular Cotswold territory – the area celebrated by the late David Verey – when you enter this little stone-built town, and spot the church on high ground. Today’s Chipping Campden has the air of a prosperous tourist trap; but it was also prosperous in the Middle Ages, when money from the wool trade financed the construction of a splendid church. As so often in the later medieval period, the laity were the generous donors: it was one of these, a wool merchant named William Bradway, who, in his will of 1488, left 100 marks ‘to the bylding of the navy [nave] and body of the church.’ This campaign gave the building massive clerestory windows – including an immense one spanning the width of the chancel arch – and a nave filled with light. The west tower was perhaps the culmination of the building project: inside there is a steepling tower arch at the West end of the nave; and you can quite see why Rickman coined the term Perpendicular. The design of the aisled nave is very similar to that at Northleach, built a generation earlier but very likely designed by the same architect. In contrast to Chipping Campden, Northleach’s tower was built before the nave, at the start of their fifteenth-century building campaign.

Just over a century later another generous donor, Sir Baptist Hicks, gave the splendidly carved Jacobean pulpit in 1612 and a medieval eagle lectern in 1618.

Hicks also funded the building of the Market Hall, together with almshouses in Church Street. He and his wife Elizabeth are commemorated by one of several monuments in the south chapel, along with their daughter Juliana and her husband Sir Edward Noel. The Noel family subsequently moved to Exton in Rutland, where you can see many more Noel monuments.

Map reference SP 311274
Simon Cotton

 

2018-07-03T16:09:54+00:00 June 2016 Articles|