St Edward’s Church, Stow-on-the-Wold , England

Serving Stow-on-the-Wold (or “Stow”), Gloucestershire, is St Edward’s Church, a Church of England parish church constructed in the middle ages.
By Rebecca C. – originally posted to Flickr as [1], CC BY 2.0, Wikimedia
Except for its 15th-century tower and clerestory, the Ashlar Cotswold stone Norman Church of St. Edward dates from the 11th or 12th to the 14th centuries. It is believed that the original Saxon church, which was made of wood, was located there. The community’s wool trade, which directly enriched the medieval rectory, provided the substantial funding for the tower and clerestory. In addition, the church underwent renovations in 1873 and the 17th century.

John Loughborough Pearson was hired by Reverend Robert William Hippisley, the parish priest at the time. Between the years 1844 and 1899, Hippisley was Rector for a significant portion of the parish’s income. He kept the building safe and avoided harsh Victorian restoration. During the administration of the final civic (secular) vestry, he received complaints:

Poliphilo, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
Due to additions and renovations over several centuries, the church has a variety of architectural styles. A four-bay nave with north and south porches, wide aisles, a tower in the south transept, a north transept, and a three-bay chancel with an organ chamber and vestry make up the Cruciform floor plan. The ashlar tower has parapets, the roof is Cotswold stone, and the walls are made of rubble. The buttresses and some chip-carved string at the west end of the church are the only remaining Norman pieces.

Photograph by Mike Peel (www.mikepeel.net)., CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
The south porch has gables, and the shallow 17th-century north porch hides a 13th-century molding on the north door, which is surrounded by yew trees. Three late tracery windows and a small 13th-century lancet can be found in the north aisle, while 14th-century tracery can be found in the south aisle. A Pearson-designed flowing east window and tall restored windows from the 14th century make up the chancel.

By Martyn Gorman, CC BY-SA 2.0, Wikimedia
The 14th-century west window has a canopied niche at its end and is reticulated with an ogee arch. Two lancets flank the 15th-century east window in the north transept, which is probably from the 13th century. On the west side of the aisles, Tudor windows line the north transept. The drip molding on stilts of clerestory windows has a square head. In the inside of the congregation, the arcades date primarily from the 1300’s and consolidate more established twelfth century structure, yet the work isn’t uniform.

A double arcade separates the north transept from the north aisle. A truss-rafter roof from the 14th century covers the chancel, and the first south window is lowered to accommodate a decorated piscina and part of a sedilia that still has some color.

The chancel curve is of plain half-round structure with no springing. The organ is blocked, and the west end has a chamber arch and two medieval tile settings. One of the 15th-century corbel beams bears the arms of John Weston, who was rector from 1416 to 1438. The nave roof is from the 19th century. The font is a goblet style from the late 16th century, and Wailes and Strang, a 19th-century company known for making English church window designs, provided the stained glass.

The interior of the church, showing the altar – By Ethan Doyle White – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, Wikimedia
The church has a 15th-century four-stage tower with corner buttresses for the second stage, two-light supermullioned bell openings, blank arched battlements, and crocketed corner pinnacles on the battlements. The stair is housed in a rectangular projecting turret on the southwest side. A string course with gargoyles and pinnacles make up the parapet.

The tower, which was built in 1447 and has a height of 88 feet (26.8 meters), has the eight largest bells in Gloucestershire. The current clock was constructed in 1926, but a clock with chimes has been there since 1580. Gaspar de Craeyer, a contemporary of Reubens and Van Dyck, painted the painting of the Crucifixion in the south aisle. De Craeyer was born in 1582 and died in 1669. The Cotswold town’s success as a trading center is reflected in the church’s many distinctive features.

The church was evaluated in accordance with the standards established by English Heritage, the statutorily responsible charity that compiles the England heritage list, and is now in the highest architectural/historic listing category (Grade I). It is one of 98 Grade I-listed buildings in the Cotswold (district), which is mostly rural and has about one third of the buildings in Gloucestershire. It has many conservation areas, and the main building material is neatly cut Cotswold stone.

Photograph by Mike Peel (www.mikepeel.net)., CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
It is one of 98 Grade I listed buildings in the Cotswold (district), a mostly rural district with about one third of Gloucestershire’s Grade I listed buildings. The encompassing locale, because of many factors, for example, the Cotswold Slopes and distance from significant urban communities, has a convergence of protection regions including conveniently cut blocks and workmanship of Cotswold stone which is borne out by the structure materials of the congregation’s square-transcended, multi-curve structure. It has been placed in the highest architectural category for a number of reasons, including its large stained glass windows, buttresses, and neatly maintained churchyard.

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