The village does however have a rather striking feature and this can be found in St Andrew’s churchyard. The churchyard is home to an intriguing fifteen foot tall stone pyramid!
The pyramid covers a vaulted burial chamber and is known as the “Douce Mausoleum”. This Grade II listed structure was built for the physician Dr Francis Douce (1675-1760) in 1748 and was designed by John Blake of Winchester. The pinnacle of the pyramid is capped off with a flaming torch, and one side of the pyramid bears a tablet which holds a coat of arms and an inscription. As you can see from the pictures below, the pyramid looks rather out of place in a British village churchyard.
|St Andrew's Church|
|The Douce Mausoleum.|
|Inscription on the side of the pyramid.|
|The pinnacle of the pyramid.|
|View from the churchyard.|
"Christ in Majesty"
It seems that in late Saxon times that it was customary to paint a “Christ in Majesty” over the chancel arch of a church, and the example in St Andrews church is estimated to date from 1025. The original St Andrews “Christ in Majesty” was a depiction of a seated Christ, with his right hand raised in benediction, and surrounded by a host of angels adorned with halos. Today the bottom two angels are still visible, however the centre part of the fresco has been destroyed. This is believed to have occurred in Norman times, when the chancel arch was widened.
|Inside St Andrew's church, looking towards the "Christ in Majesty".|
|A description of the "Christ in Majesty"|
|The bottom two angels of the "Christ in Majesty".|
The "Sabbath Breakers" is a 15th century morality painting depicting the potential religious dangers of breaking the fourth commandment: “Remember the Sabbath Day, and to keep it holy....”. The fresco shows Christ who has been injured by a number of wounds. Christ is surrounded by the implements of different trades, which include a plough, a mill wright’s tools, a cobbler’s awl and knife, a slater’s zax, a traders scales, a saw, a bobbin of yarn, an axe, a catapult, a net, and a horse shoe. These tools are presumably the source of Christ’s wounds, as the tradesmen who own them had been working on the Sabbath day.
|The "Sabbath Breakers" explained.|
|"The Sabbath Breakers".|
The church also has a fresco of Saint George and the Dragon (circa 15th century). This fresco shows Saintt George mounted on his horse fighting the Dragon outside the gates of a settlement, whilst two crowned figures (presumably a King and a Queen) look on. In this blog I have previously noted that legends of Saint George and the Dragon are associated with Dragon Hill near Uffington in Oxfordshire, so perhaps the settlement depicted in this fresco is the old Iron Age fort at Uffington?
|Saint George fighting the dragon.|
Saint Nicholas and a Bell
St Andrew's church also contains two other frescoes. One is a depiction of Saint Nicholas near one of the windows, the second is a bell (circa 18th century) high up near the church roof.
Pictures, Hampshire (February 2014).
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