As the bells of St Mary's pierce the heavy silence of this bleak morning, John Donne's words spring into my mind:
Ask not for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
St. Mary's church is a positive factor in my life, even though I don't attend it and am not religious in the traditional sense.
Monday, October 18, 2010
Shenley Church End - St. Mary's Church
The Church of St Mary, in Shenley Church End, dates from about 1150 and originally comprised of chancel, nave, north and south transepts and perhaps a central tower. About 1190 the chancel was rebuilt and the only parts of the original structure remaining are the transepts and the west wall of the nave, at this time the south aisle was added.
Much work took place on the structure in the 14th and 15th centuries. The large five-light window was added in 1490 which has been considerably repaired. At the west end is a pointed door of the 14th century and above is a large 15th century of five cinquefoiled lights under a four-centred head, all extensively repaired. In the north aisle is a large monument to Thomas Stafford of Tattenhoe (d1607).
The tower contains a ring of six bells; the treble is modern, while the second and third are by Newcome, 1615 and 1616 respectively, and the fourth and fifth by Bartholomew Atton, 1593 and 1610. The tenor, which bears the inscription 'Missi De Celis Abeo Nomen Amen Gabrelis,' was probably cast by Robert Burford in the early 15th century. There is also a small bell with no inscription, but probably of the 17th century.