Cambridgeshire Churches

Dry Drayton, SS Peter and Paul

the crazy-paved church...

Dry Drayton was our last church of the day - it was only four o' clock, but the winter night was already drawing in and I was getting decidedly cold on the back of the Snail. We parked on the village green and wandered up to the churchyard. SS Peter and Paul has a very unpromising exterior - both the chancel and the aisles were refaced by the Victorians in a peculiar crazy-paved style that just looks ugly to my eyes. The clerestory of round quatrefoils is also Victorian.

Inside, the core of the nave is from the 13th and 14th centuries. piers lean rather alarming on the north side.

the bulging eyes of Thomas Hutton

The chancel was completely rebuilt in 1850, and in the 1860s the restorers seem to have gone on a spree of vandalism that is unusually shocking.

They raised the nave floor by 18 inches, obliterating almost all the monument slabs, and removed the rood screen which had survived until then.

As if that wasn't enough, they then inserted a vast ugly organ into the east end of the south aisle, destroying three canopied niches in the process. It is at times like this when I feel like ritually cursing the Victorians. Apparently the stone under the font was once the pre-Reformation altar-stone, though I don't think I can blame that particular sacrilege on the 19th century vandals.

One interesting feature does remain; reset into the nave floor is the brass to Thomas Hutton and his wife Margaret, dating from about 1540. They have a lot more character than most brasses - both are richly dressed in the fashion of the times, and Thomas leans forward on his pillow, staring out at us with bulging eyes. E.T. sprang rather forcefully to mind. I quite liked them - given what else has gone on in this church they are lucky not to have been buried, or melted down to make light fittings.

SS Peter and Paul is kept open during the days

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