English Churches - Cambridgeshire

St Botolph's Church, Cambridge


A Medieval rood screen and a Bodley chancel


St Botolph was the patron saint of travellers, so it is appropriate the church stood at the site of the Trumpington Gate, one of two gateways into the medieval town of Cambridge. Prayers could be said in the church before journeys began and thanks given after a safe return.

There has been a church here since before the Norman Conquest. This church dates from the C14th and the tall square west tower and the south chapel were added in the C15th. The pinnacles at the corners are the four symbols of the evangelists. It would have been an imposing entrance to the city. The sundial was probably an important time keeper for the population. The church was restored in the C19 and the chancel is a wonderful example of the work of CF Bodley.
 
St Botolph's Church, Cambridge

Entry is through the west door into the base of teh tower which has the Royal coat of Arms of William IV, given to the church by John Smith, University Printer,  and a benefactorís board.

St Botolph's Church,
                Cambridge  St Botolph's Church,
                Cambridge

Inside it is a very elegant church with whitewashed walls and arcades of octagonal pillars supporting pointed arches. The ceiling is painted in shades of brown and ochre.
 
St Botolph's Church,
                Cambridge

St Botolph's Church, Cambridge

At the back of the nave is the C17th font with its lovely Laudian canopy. Although repainted many times, this has now been carefully restored to its original colours.
 
St Botolph's Church,
                Cambridge

The south chapel of the Holy Trinity is used for weekday services and is screened off from the rest of the church by a modern wood and glass screen. It is the memorial chapel for those who died in the First World War. Boards list the names of members of the University Press who lost their lives as well as college servants. There are images of St George and St Michael in the east window.

St Botolph's Church,
                Cambridge   St Botolph's Church,
                Cambridge

On the back wall is the splendid memorial to Thomas Plainfere, a noted preacher and Professor of Divinity at Lady Margaretís College.
 
St Botolph's Church,
                Cambridge

The south aisle is now empty apart from an old strong box beneath the C19th stained glass window which has  scenes of the Annunciation, Nativity and Baptism of Christ.

St Botolph's Church,
                Cambridge

The Rood Screen is C15th and is the only Medieval Rood Screen to survive in Cambridge. It was restored in the C19th when the Rood cross was replaced.

St Botolph's Church,
                Cambridge

The base panels were repainted as part of the C19th restoration with the the Annunciation and Angel Gabriel and the Virgin Mary. 
 
St Botolph's Church,
                Cambridge

St Botolph's Church,
                Cambridge

The chancel was completely rebuilt in the C19th and is a wonderful example of the Victorian Gothic work of CF Bodley with a glorious painted ceiling. Above the east window are images of angels with musical instruments of censors. The organ pipes are on the north wall.
 
St Botolph's Church,
                Cambridge    St Botolph's
                Church, Cambridge

St Botolph's Church, Cambridge

The painting of the Crucifixion was purchased in Antwerp in 1818 by John Smith, the University Printer and was given to the church. Bodley designed the reredos to hold the picture. On either side are pictures showing the disciples and the two Marys at the empty tomb. The east window continues the theme with the Ascension of Christ.
 
St Botolph's Church, Cambridge

St Botolph's Church,
                Cambridge

This is a very attractive church and the noise of Cambridge traffic is lost as soon as you enter. The only sound is the ticking of the clock. The church is open daily but there is no parking for it. The post code is CB2 1RG  and the grid reference is TL 448581.

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