Cambridgeshire Churches

Toft, St Andrew

the gloomy church at toft...

St Andrew's sat and glowered at us darkly from its dark churchyard. It was locked, and although there are keyholders listed, we decided to move on. I can't quite explain why; it might have been that we were visiting on a grey, dark day, but to me the church felt positively malevolent. It doesn't help that it's almost entirely been rebuilt.

I don't quite understand how the Victorians did it. In some places one can find the most beautiful and original gothic churches built in the 19th century. In other places, they have restored a medieval church flawlessly, allowing us as far as possible to see it in its original glory.

And then, in some places they do this. The tower is impeccably Generic East Anglia in style, and there's nothing inauthentic or unpleasant that I could put my finger on, and yet, somehow, it's all wrong. Maybe it's something to do with the fact that the stonework is very grimy - it made it look as though St Andrew's had sat next to a major road in suburban North London for a hundred years, rather than this pretty little lane in this pretty little village.

I may go back - Pevsner says there are 'considerable fragments of an alabaster altar, the two standing figures very good indeed'. It'll have to be on a warm summer day, though, when the sun can penetrate the shadows.

St Andrew's is kept locked. There are keyholders listed, if you are feeling brave.

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