This church holds a special place in my heart, and always will. Those who know me will know a little of my history. For those who don't I was struggling with a stress related illness a few years ago following the traumatic loss of my father. The days were bleak and someone suggested long walks to help ease my mind. The church of St Kyneburgha at Castor was at the end of one of these long walks one day in the late Summer of 2006. I sat there on my own, enjoying the quiet, looking around at the building and really noticing the inside of a church for the first time! The real inspiration for this site, and a love of church photography in general, was set that day!
For exterior photographs of this church, including some photographs of the sheep who keep the grass down, please visit the Castor exterior page in the Cambs A-F section of this site.
In the North aisle of this church there is a shrine built to St Kyneburgha. The picture above right is of an eighth century carving of St Mark. This is set in to a wall in the shrine. I believe that this carving was work buried when work was being done at the church in the past.
The wall painting in the north aisle depicts three scenes from the Martyrdom of St Catherine. She was reputed to have been a niece of emperor Maximus who, after discovering that she was a Christian, ordered her philosophers to convert her. She ended up converting them to Christianity instead. The philisophers were put to death by Maximus and Catherine was ordered to be broken on a wheel. This is the origin of the Catherine Wheel! Two scenes depicted below. The painting was discovered in 1842 and restored in 1986.
Apart from pieces of Roman stonework used in the exterior walls, the oldest thing in the church is the base of the Saxon Cross. This has been safely inside the church since the 1930's. It is thought that this was originally a Roman alter which has had its top cut out so that the Saxon Cross could be fitted in. Photograph of this included below, fourth down on the right, complete with Christmas candle stuck in the top! The carvings on the base are Saxon.
One of the highlights of the interior for me are the carvings on the capitals that support the tower. Beautifully carved, these were the finest that I had seen until similar at Oakham gave these here a run for their money. Carvings consist of the following scenes... A boar hunt (with one hound sliced in half by a boar!), a man harvesting with a sickle, two men with shields fighting over a woman, Green Men, two Dragons fighting and a man with a basket picking grapes. By the way, it has been suggested that the woman that the two men are fighting over is none other than St Kyneburgha.
In 1450 a new roof was added to the church. The beams of the new roof were carved with a number of angels and other figures. There are 12 winged angels in the nave, some of which are included below.
A few interesting pieces can be seen along the north wall of the nave. A small collection of Roman finds are on display, including some tessarea pictured below right. A clock, made locally by Wilson and Son of Peterborough, and dated 1818 stands close to a bier, a cart that would have transported the coffin to graveside.
Quite simply, Castor church is a delight, both inside and out, and I hope that the pages included on my site convay how dearly I love the place.