Saturday, May 22, 2010

St Andrew's, Tur Langton

I am fast coming to the conclusion that the Langtons - a group of villages a short bus ride, or even a walk, to the north of Market Harborough - are a sort of paradise. Fine houses, good pubs, interesting history (try J.W. Logan and William Hanbury).

And as acute a critic as Down at Third Man described his first encounter with East Langton cricket ground thus:
On the roadside, in the gloaming, between high trees, he spots the spectre of an enchanted cricket ground. Passing by in an instant he is certain that he has seen the mythic cricket ground that all lovers of the game believe one day they will stumble on.
Today I went to Tur Langton to photograph its remarkable church.

In a paradisaical English village you would naturally expect to find a Medieval church, but not in Tur Langton. It boasts a striking, incongruous piece of Victoriana, built from contrasting red and industrial blue bricks.

It is the work of Joseph Goddard, one of a notable family of Leicester architects. In their book of the Goddards - Men of Property: The Goddards and Six Generations of Architecture - Geoff Brandwood and Martin Cherry write:
The north elevation faces the village and to the south the church overlooks fields and is generally only to be seen from a distance. This led Joseph to treat them very differently. The south side has five bays with huge three-light windows whose massive heads are punched through with quatrefoils. The north side is smaller scaled and more picturesque.

They go on to discuss the church's interior, but it was locked today. So to see it you will have to visit the excellent Leicestershire & Rutland Churches website.

It certainly is an incongruous building to find in a village like Tur Langton, but then the hope of finding something incongruous is one of the things that sends me out on these wanderings with my camera.

Still, Peter Ashley from Unmitigated England (whose name cropped up again later this afternoon) writes of it:

Isn't it odd how one changes one's mind about things. In the 1970's I lived in Tur Langton in Leicestershire, and just because this church wasn't on a ley line (the original is now only an arch in a garden just outside the village) we flared-trousered know-alls dismissed it out of hand. "No sense of holiness" we opined, looking at it from the pub windows opposite and never going in it unless one of us got married or died. Now, I can't get enough of it.

I am inclined to agree with his mature opinion - and I had lunch in that pub today.

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