This old drawing of St Eadburgha’s that I photographed for the “Church in the Village” exhibition in St Michael’s shows

St Eadburgha’s from the South-West in 1820 (before St Michael’s was built in 1840). At that time the roof of the nave was lead. It is believed that at some earlier time it had been thatch and later in the 1866 restoration it was changed to the present stone slates. The increase in weight of the roof from thatch to lead and subsequently to stone has pushed out the columns in the nave so that they slightly slope outwards although a tie beam has been inserted to stop further movement.

The drawing shows the two sets of stone steps outside the south aisle. These led up to an internal gallery. Originally perhaps, there was a gallery at the west end of the nave for musicians and perhaps later this was extended on the south side to add more space for a growing congregation.

When St Michael’s was built, and the main services moved there, the gallery was removed, the high level doorways blocked up (still just visible outside) and the steps were dumped by the gate where they have puzzled visitors ever since.

I wonder if the tree shown in the drawing near the west end of the church as a tall young tree is the huge old sycamore that has recently been cut down. Artistic licence may have been used to position the tree rather nearer to the church than is actually the case.

There are some trees shown near the road on the right side of the drawing, more or less in the position of some present old trees.

It is some comfort to see that the gravestones leaned in all directions in 1820 as they do now.

John Griffith May 2014

St Eadburgha’s Church in 1820