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All Saints, Boughton
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All Saints church is typical of hundreds of small English churches which have got on with the business of being the spiritual touchstones of their parishes for hundreds and hundreds of years. There is no Big House here, no Big Family to keep their firm hand on the tiller, and so the building has been carried gently through the centuries by local people, touched lightly on a fairly regular basis, and occasionally radically restructured when theological enthusiasm or iconoclasm intervened. Thus, we have a building which is almost all of its 1872 restoration, which was essentially a rebuilding. But the tower survives from Catholic days, and seems to have been only lightly restored by the Victorians.
Unlike the churches at Wretton and Wereham, we found this church locked. There is a keyholder notice, although it must be said that the kind lady who came to open up seemed rather surprised that anyone should want to see inside. It is true, there is nothing remarkable here, but it is really impossible to get a true flavour of a village without seeing inside its parish church. Conversely, if a parish keeps its church locked without a keyholder notice, it tells you an awful lot about that village.
And, in fact, there is one thing of great interest. This is a small window in the nave depicting Christ as the Good Shepherd and the Light of the World in a bold and yet contemplative style, which I found difficult to date. It seems too late for the date of the restoration, and yet it has no memorial inscription, and no maker's mark as far as I could see. Perhaps it may be from the early 20th Century?
Simon Knott, June 2009
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