Saturday, November 08, 2014

Beauty and Heckington church

click photo to enlarge
The church of St Andrew at Heckington is essentially a creation of the fourteenth century. It exemplifies a style that English architectural historians call Decorated. Anyone choosing Lincolnshire's best dozen churches would be likely to include Heckington. It is a large, town-size church - 164 feet long and 185 feet tall to the top of its spire - constructed of Ancaster stone located in a big village.

What makes Heckington church a beautiful and outstanding example of medieval church architecture? The exterior of the building is well-proportioned, though it could be argued that the spire is too short for its tower (or the tower too tall for its spire). However, it is the quantity and quality of the external decoration that sets it apart. Fine pinnacles and niched buttresses abound as do statues (38). Finials, crockets and gargoyles are abundant and elaborate. So too is the tracery of the windows with its trefoils, quatrefoils, mouchettes, daggers, ogees: those of the south transept (above) and east chancel window are classic, much quoted examples of the period. After an exterior of such quality the interior comes as something of a disappointment. However, it compensates by having a small collection of features - the font, a tomb recess, Easter sepulchre, piscina and sedilia, that transcend the ordinary and in some cases are of national significance.

Being a big church in a small churchyard, surrounded by quite close housing, Heckington is not easy to photograph in its entirety. The churchyard planting, though very good, adds to the difficulty. Consequently I was reduced to photographing a part rather than the whole, the tower, south porch and south transept, glimpsed between a couple of conifers.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Camera: Nikon D5300
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 18mm (27mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f8
Shutter Speed: 1/250 sec
Exposure Compensation: -0.33 EV
Image Stabilisation: On