Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Swingfield Church

Wandering through the lanes near Alkham I saw a sign to Swingfield and followed it to the village. Here I found this interesting looking Church, St Peter's, quite different in design to most in the area.

According to James Antony Syms it was in this village that King John agreed to acknowledge the Pope in order to have his excommunication lifted. This was in May 1213 and took place at the preceptory of the Knights Hospitallers of St John. It seems that most of the church is more modern than that, although the nave and the chancel are probably 12th Century.

The Lych Gate was build as a memorial to the men of the village killed in the two world wars.

The most unusual feature of the church is the tower, with the semi-circular stair turret. When Syms wrote about the church in his book published in 1987 it was still in use. Since then it has become redundant and the Church had sought to have it converted to a private dwelling.

I like this view through the trees, and I assume the villagers are rather fond of it too, as they have been fighting to save St Peters, from this fate, perhaps having it converted to a community centre. The last news I can find was on the BBC web site on 29th Aug 2006, so if anyone has an update on the situation I would be interested. It certainly seems a building with enough historic connections to make it worth preserving.

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