Tuesday 29 April 2014

A Norman Wolf and Old Bulletholes.....

....were some of the delights that greeted us as we snooped around Alton's parish church of St Lawrence. First established in c1070 it is noted for its different architectural styles but I shall say no more on this particular topic as I am an ignoramus in such matters!

There is a positively ropey Saxon font roughly hewn and not worthy of a picture in my opinion but thankfully this is excused by the rather splendid carvings on top of the Norman columns. I made it my personal mission to track down the greenman once I'd seen mention of it in the children's guide [I find the kiddie's info is often of more interest to me - it has all the juicy bits in!] and as seen from the photographic evidence, was successful.

Just across the way was this mighty fine wolf and his bone.

These caught my eye next. We tend to think of old churches these days as calm with muted, relaxing colours when in their heyday they were anything but.....noisy and garish would have been more the case. These 15th century paintings of Saints give you the merest hint of just how colourful it would have been.

This old door really does tell a story as it permanently captures a moment in history. During the Civil War Alton was occupied by the Cavaliers. On 13th December 1643 the Roundheads led by William Waller mounted a counter attack. This resulted in the Cavalier leader, the Earl of Crawford, fleeing to Winchester and leaving a skeleton troop behind headed up by Colonel Richard Boles. Greatly outnumbered they barricaded themselves in the church but it offered little protection. Boles reputedly died in the pulpit and the door still shows the battle scars to this day as it is riddled with bullet holes and deep gouges made by the pikes as the fighting commenced.

You can read about history all you like in books but it's not until you see the aftermath and perhaps imagine the carnage and terror that ensued during the attack that it fleshes out the bones.


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