Looking back, a long weekend of churchcrawling could have been timed better than the first week of November! I had wanted to get out in the Autumn to see the beautiful autumnal colours but it was also getting dark by 5pm so it did cut down the number of places that I could visit.
The idea was to spend part of the time heading up the A14 towards Huntingdon, taking in the churches to the extreme south of the catchment area of this site. Easton is a small village that I found to be very inaccessible. Access via the A14 was easy enough but I didn't fancy that road on cycle and ended up using a remote gated road. Easton in one of the furthest flung churches to the south covered by this site, with only neighbouring Ellington more distant from Peterborough. Huntiongdon is a few miles away to the East, with Grafham water close by to the south. Despite the busy A14 being close by, Easton is tranquil, and very beautiful.
Whatever problems were caused by the daylight fading early this trip was very worthwhile. Autumn was in it's full splendour when I was at Easton. The sun was shining and everywhere was golden and brown.Quite exquisite!
There was no church mentioned here at the time of the Domesday Survey in 1086, but it is thought that there was a church here shortly afterwards, by the beginning of the 12th century. Fragments of carved stone built in the walls date from that time. That early building would have been a basic structure of chancel and aisleless nave. Around 1300 considerable alterations were made to St Peter. A south aisle was added and the chancel arch was re-built.
The tower and elegant broache spire were added towards the end of the 14th century. There were four bells hanging here at the time of Rev Oven's late Victorian look at the church bells of Huntingdonshire. The first bell was made by famous Peterborough founder Henry Penn in 1718. The third bell was the most recent, being cast by Taylor of St Neots in 1821. The other two were both founded by Newcombe Watts in Leicester and are of considerable age and interest. The first of these is thought to date from around 1530 and has the inscription "SANCTA MAREA" The second from Newcombe Watts dates from around 30 years later and is inscribed "PRAISE THE LORDE" Interestingly, the letter "E"s are all reversed in the inscription.
The church of St Peter made the headlines in January 2010. Whilst work was being done on the church the floor was taken up and a hole was found, which contained burned charcoal which was used to generate extreme heat to cast bells. Bellfounders sometimes used to cast the bells on site and some founders were itinerant, setting up shop, so to speak, wherever they were employed. According to the National Church Bell Database only the two 16th century bells remain today.
The church is set in the most beautiful of surroundings. Approaching from the south, the spire of St Peter stands out behind a large and imposing house. The church is surrounded by trees and the village sign a few yards away from the church wall shows the spire of the church poking out over the top of some gorgeous thatched cottages. Interestingly, the village sign is two sides with the second side just showing a pheasant! A small brook winds its way to the north of the church.
A solitary gargoyle looks out from the south wall. This is fine work but of no massive age by the looks of it, probably dating from one of the periods of Victorian restoration. There is nothing of any great age in the church grounds but mention should be made of a carving of a winged cherub reaching out to a cross and looking upwards towards heaven. A beautiful piece of work.
Left Easton after spending an enjoyable time. Crossed the A14 and aimed for nearby Woolley and Barham. There is a very large hill here and it was good to spend some time on high ground looking out over the countryside, with the churhes at Spaldwick, Easton and Ellington all visible. Autum is a truly beautiful season and this is a very beautiful church!
The church here was closed to visitors when I arrived, but I was able to gain admission during the summer of 2014, when I attended an evening prayer service with David. The interior photos and the large photograph at the top of the page are from this letter visit. All other photos are from the original visit. Had a talk with David about the view of this church, as seen in the photograph below right, and we both thought that this was as good as it got with regards the churches covered by this site. An exquisite view, and one that we enjoyed very much, especially on a glorious Summer evening, with the sun starting to go down... and we loved the thatched cats on top of a cottage close to the church.