|THE HISTORY ST THOMAS's CHURCH BEDHAMPTON|
The church of St Thomas consists of chancel 28 ft. by 18 ft. 6 in. (18 ft. at the west end), with north vestry, and nave 46 ft. by 19 ft. 3 in., with north aisle and south porch.
The chancel arch, c. 1140, is the oldest piece of architectural detail remaining, and the south and west walls of the nave may be in part of the same date.
The chancel, the south wall of which is in line with that of the nave, seems to have been rebuilt in the thirteenth century, and probably lengthened about 1360–70, the south wall being set outside the line of the former south wall.
The line of the north wall, however, has probably
not been altered, and the wall may contain older masonry in its western
portion. The north arcade and aisle were added to the nave in 1878, and
the chancel was repaired and the north vestry added in 1869. The old
walls are of flint and freestone rubble with ashlar quoins, and in the
upper part of the wall at the south-west of the nave a piece of
twelfth-century zigzag ornament is used up.
The chancel has an east window of three
trefoiled lights, with two quatrefoils in the head, c. 1370, and north and south
windows of the same date, with square heads, two-light trefoiled tracery, and
segmental rear-arches. In the south-east angle is a contemporary cinquefoiled
piscina, with a stone shelf. The western part of the north wall is taken up by
the organ, opposite to which in the south wall is a square-headed window of two
shouldered lights, probably of thirteenth-century date, and in the south-west
angle a square-headed low side window 16 in. wide at the glass line by 3 ft.
high, splayed internally with a segmental head, its sill being 2 ft. from the
present floor, which is slightly above the old level. In the north vestry a
trefoiled fourteenth-century light is re-used.
The chancel arch is semicircular,
having a roll and lozenge pattern on the western side, a label with a double
line of hatched ornament, and small angle shafts with scalloped capitals and
moulded bases with spurs. The abacus has a hollow chamfer below, and is
continued as a string on the west face, and on the east face of the south
respond are parts of a string of different section, perhaps not in situ.
The nave has a modern north arcade of
three bays and a north aisle, the west window of which is a late
fourteenth-century two-light window re-used, with trefoiled lights and tracery.
In the south wall of the nave is a similar window, and to the east of it two
single-light windows one over the other. The upper, which has a square head, has
been inserted to light the rood-loft, and the lower, which is pointed, with a
segmental rear-arch, lighted the south nave altar. There are no other traces of
this altar, but the remains of a fifteenth-century niche on the north of the
chancel arch mark the site of the corresponding north altar of the nave.
The south doorway of the nave has a
plain late fourteenth-century arch with continuous mouldings, and to the west of
it is a contemporary window of two trefoiled lights with a trefoiled opening in
the head. In the wall above its west jamb is a stone corbel, which may have
carried a beam supporting a western gallery.
The west window is of early
fourteenth-century style, with three acute cinquefoiled lights; the tracery
looks like old work re-used. On the west gable is a modern bell-turret
containing one bell by Clement Tosier, 1688, but its corbelled base on the east
face of the wall seems to be ancient.
The roofs are red tiled, the timbers
of the chancel roof being modern, while those of the nave are old, with plain
tie-beams and trussed rafters. Otherwise all woodwork is modern, but within the
chancel rails are a seventeenth-century chair and bench. The font, near the
south door, is modern, with a square bowl and a central and four angle pillars
of twelfth-century style, the angle pillars being of yellow marble.