I only needed to go a few miles down the road to come across this magnificent piece of Gothic inspiration.
St Peter ad Vincula is a towering piece of English Perpendicular architecture in the tiny village of Hampton Lucy.
Commissioned by the Lucy family, it was built 1822 - 6 and a wonderful piece of Gothic inspiration.
For church enthusiasts, the nave was designed by Henry Hutchinson and the tower by Thomas Rickman. The chancel, porch and apsidal sanctuary were added in 1858 by Sir Gilbert Scott. The east window is by Thomas Willement and depicts the life of St Peter.
Pevsner describes the church as ‘a very good example of early 19th-century church architecture, the richness of which is due to the generosity of funding’.
A typically academic understatement.
I was particularly taken by a botanical link. The theme of the current book in progress, The Blackfern Conspiracy, is all about mad plant collecting in the 19th century.
It transpires that the son of the local blacksmith in Hampton Lucy was a plant hunter, who worked for the famous Harry Veitch. His travels were mainly to China and Japan, where he endured mixed fortunes. He was particularly good at finding new trees, such as Daphne genkwa and Abies mariesii.
Curiously, there is a plethora of the most wonderful floral imagery in the stained glass windows. Who was behind this? More research required!
In the meantime, I’ll need to find an excuse to go back, perhaps on a sunnier day, to capture some more of those floral motifs in the stained glass.
But there’s another mystery, too. Apparently, some of the stained glass from Coventry Cathedral was dismantled before the Blitz and ended up in Iceland, where it became highly prized. However, it transpires the glass was actually spirited away to Hampton Lucy, and it’s only just been rediscovered.
This little tale of intrigue has all my favourite ingredients, but there are still some loose ends ...
By Pamela Kelt