Sunday, 18 March 2018

The Church of St Hubert, Idsworth

The Church of St Hubert at Idsworth, is known colloquially as "The Little Church in the Field". Built in the 10th Century, to replace an existing wooden church St Hubert's was originally dedicated to St Peter. Only the north wall of the Nave and the west wall date to the earliest period of construction, with modifications to the fabric of the building being made in the 12th, 13th and 16th Centuries.

We visited on foot, a pilgrimage if you must. To view the medieval murals of which the Church ably boasts. The recent snow added drama to the agricultural landscape, with hedgerows full of foraging winter thrush and mixed tit flocks. Twenty something stock dove were flushed from a field by a pale buzzard trying to find a thermal on which to soar.

On Idsworth Down our destination was revealed .. a small distant chapel, highlighted in the landscape by a snow worn path leading from the field gate to the Churchyard gate.

Church revealed from Idsworth Down

western aspect

western and southern aspects
northern aspect and original Saxon wall

The biting wind without, redeemed by the warmth of the murals within. Upon entering the Church the first mural to be seen is the Millennium Fresco - a modern mural celebrating the turn of the new millennium. Painted by Fleur Kelly the mural is firmly within keeping with the style and traditions of medieval murals, and fully compliments the historical artwork of the Church.

the Millennium Fresco

On the northern wall of the Chancel is a medieval mural dated to the early 14th Century, which was rediscovered in 1864 after lime wash was removed from the walls. It is believed that this original painting had been deliberately covered up in the 16th Century by order of the Regency Council governing on behalf of Edward VI under whose regency Protestentism fully replaced the doctrine of the Catholic Church in England.

medieval mural Ca. 1330

modern representation of the mural

The lower panel depicts the feast of King Herod at which John the Baptist is beheaded, the whole bloody incident is described in the Biblical scriptures at Mark 6 v 14 -29. King Herod is seated to the right of the panel. The dancing figure with swords is that of Salome - who appears twice in the picture, being also seen wearing a crown to the left of the panel.

John the Baptist himself appears several times on the panel - the first time on the right hand side of the upper panel, in which he is depicted being arrested on behalf of King Herod; his severed head - Salome's grisly reward for her sword dance - is then seen twice in the lower panel: on a platter presented to Herod, on a platter being presented to Salome.

the dance of Salome

Salome crowned

St John the Baptists head .. presented to Salome

St John the Baptists head .. presented to Herod

The remaining figures and action occurring in the upper panel remain open to interpretation, with several theories being described in the literature.

On the eastern wall, within the window frame - are the figures of St Peter holding the keys to Heaven; and St Paul holding a staff and book. Angels adorn the window arch. Another mural sits on the wall to the left of the window. All pictures are thought to date to the 1330's.

Font Ca. 1400

Saxon "light" on North wall

Pulpit - early 17th Century


The Creative Works (Undated) The Idsworth Wall Paintings The Church of St Hubert Bishops Printers; Available at The Church of St Hubert

Unknown Author (Undated) The Church of St Idsworth; Available at The Church of St Hubert

Wikipedia (2018) [ONLINE} Edward VI of England Available at: Edward VI of England

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