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Mildenhall,  Wiltshire  -  St John Church
(pronounced Minal)
12th-19th centuries

Click on photos to enlarge
Notes in italics from Wiltshire by Nikolaus Pevsner Revised by Bridget Cherry (1975)
Yale University Press, New Haven and London


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This is a perfect example of the small village church of many periods, and, together with its Late Georgian furnishings, preserved completely. 


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The lower courses of the tower are of Saxon origin. The rest of the tower seems to be Norman (12th century), because of the twin bell-openings with dividing shafts below the present Perp bell-openings. These have Somerset tracery.
The W doorway into the tower is E.E.
(Early English - 13th century)


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Chronologically next after the tower (minus its doorway) is the S arcade (first three pictures) of three bays with round piers, capitals with trumpet scallops, foliage, and heads, square abaci, and single stepped arches. (12th century). The N arcade (last picture) has round piers and round moulded capitals, but the arcades are still single-stepped.


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The imposts of the arch towards the nave are Norman too, see the tiny pendant double lobes in the corners. The arch is unmoulded and pointed.
The chancel arch (last picture) is double-chamfered and pointed, but its brackets .. are also still Late Norman.

All the above is of between c.1150 and 1200.


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First picture.  The chancel belongs to the same time, see the round-arched, simple priest's doorway. The windows of the church are mostly Perp (Perpendicular, 15th-16th century).
Second picture. In the S aisle near the doorway a lancet window (i.e. Early English, 13th century).
Third picture. Jacobean chancel roof  (early 17th century).

In 1815-16 the church was refurnished, and of the charmingly Gothic fitments then put in all seem to survive ... 

Quoting from the leaflet in the church: Sir John Betjeman, himself an old Marlburian, said of Minal Church, in a 1948 broadcast, "You walk in to the church of a Jane Austen novel, into a forest of magnificent oak joinery ...", and John Piper, writing in 1949 said, "The colour as a whole is that of an old fiddle".

The church scenes for the ITV television production of Jane Austen's 'Emma' were filmed here in 1996.

 

Map

Mildenhall village website

 
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