Sunday, August 11, 2013

Bonby church - a different view

click photo to enlarge
Today's photograph was taken on the same day as my other black and white shot of Bonby church that I posted recently. It shows the the north side of the building and illustrates something I've discussed elsewhere in this blog, namely how medieval churches were enlarged by adding aisles.

The outline of arcade arches on the nave wall above shows that there was once an aisle attached to the building. It was probably required to accommodate a growing congregation. It may have been added to the original, small aisleless church by knocking out arch-shaped openings in the nave wall and replacing the remaining supporting walling with columns. Of course, when the aisle was added the windows had to be re-positioned (or new ones made) for the new aisle wall that was now farther from the middle of the nave. Sometimes the wall that was turned into an arcade was increased in height and windows were cut through the new, higher section, to shine light into the centre of the church. This solution involved raising the height of the nave roof. I don't know precisely why and how Bonby's aisle was fitted to the original church but it's very clear that at a later date it either became an expensive luxury that a decline in the size of the congregation rendered superfluous; or it fell down; or it became unsafe and was pulled down. Whatever the reason, every expense was spared in restoring the original nave wall. The arches and columns were left in place and simply filled with masonry. I wouldn't be surprised if the aisle windows were re-used too. The architectural effect is inelegant but interesting.

In fact, that description suits the whole of this side of the building. Just look at the chimney and the white lean-to extension - it looks like part of a cottage has been stuck on the side of the church! But, as I said on my earlier post about the church, these rustic qualities are ones that I find quite attractive. On my previous visits to this church I'd never been able to get inside; it was always locked. On our recent visit the door was open and we had a look round. Truth be told it's not a very attractive interior; the remains of the arcade is the most interesting feature. The visitors' book dates back to the 1960s, and as my wife glanced through it she noted that entries in that decade and subsequently were not very numerous: presumably an indication that the building was rarely open. Perhaps we were fortunate to find it unlocked, or maybe it was because we visited on a Sunday.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Canon
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 32mm
F No: f7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/250 sec
ISO: 100
Exposure Compensation: -1.00 EV
Image Stabilisation: On