St Peter Ad Vincula, Hampton Lucy

Not the least of the changes in the Church of England has been the disappearance of the clergy who would spend a lifetime’s ministry in one parish. Here was such a Rector, the Reverend John Lucy, who masterminded not one, but two church building campaigns in the course of a 59- year ministry, from 1815 to 1874. The Victorian age was an age of industrialization and expanding cities, adorned by splendid new churches; Hampton Lucy church is an exception, a magnificent Victorian church in the depths of the Warwickshire countryside.

Soon after John Lucy became rector, he engaged Thomas Rickman as architect to rebuild the church (1822–3). A pioneer in the study of Gothic architecture, Rickman invented the terms ‘Early English’, ‘Decorated’ and ‘Perpendicular’ that are still in general use. Rickman was responsible for the soaring Perpendicular tower, while the splendid nave was the work of Rickman’s partner Henry Hutchinson (best known for the Bridge of Sighs at St John’s College, Cambridge).

Within little more than the span of a generation, the early 19th c. furnishings of the nave and chancel had become outmoded, and the great Sir Gilbert Scott was brought in to supply a new chancel (1856), whose gabled and crocketed polygonal apse can only be termed the epitome of the High Victorian style.

Come to Hampton Lucy on a sunny summer’s day, when you can enjoy the glazing at its best, for the stained glass is an encyclopedia of the great Victorian studios – Willement; Clayton and Bell; Hardman; and Heaton, Butler and Bayne.

Ninian Comper had the idea of architectural unity by inclusion. This is Gothic by fusion.

Ponder: is your faith an integral part of your life, or do you compartmentalize faith, work and family?

Grid reference: SP220570

Simon Cotton