All Saints, Kemble
682: There was possibly a church here
1250: The tower was built.
1280: The porch was added by Abbott William de Colerne. This is a computer reconstruction to give some idea of what it looked like in 1280 -
All Saints Kemble as it might have looked in 1280
1350: The font.
1450: The spire was added.
1823: On 29th December the church and spire were severely damaged by lightning.
1824: The spire was rebuilt.
1843: A drawing of the church showed a massively distorted porch
Over the years the porch arch began to buckle and massive buttresses were added to try to hold it up. By 1843 it looked as if the architecture owed more to middle earth and the hobbits than to Early English! This same distorted arch can be seen in the drawing of the whole church in 1843, probably by the same hand -
Notice the same distorted arch in 1843
1859: Mr & Mrs Hall, The Book of the Thames -
The earliest mention of this parish is in the charters of the Anglo-Saxon kings; it is also mentioned in that most venerable record of our country, the Domesday Book the inventory of England made for William the Conqueror. In both it is named Kemele sufficiently close to the familiar pronunciation of its name adopted by the country-folks of the present day. The monks of Malmesbury were possessed of this rich manor in the olden time, it being about six miles from their chief seat. The church is a large structure, still preserving many features of remote antiquity, but they occur only in that fragmentary form which too frequently characterizes such relics. The parts which first strike the eye are of early English architecture, the best portion being the large porch we have pictured, which, however, forms a case, or shrine, to the Norman door, with its chevron ornament decorating the arch.
By 1859 the porch had been rebuilt. The massive buttresses remained but the arch has been restored almost as it would have been in 1280. Note that the Victorian instinct in drawing is always to add the human touch. The bonneted lady is staring intently at the door handle.
1872: A large part of All
Saints, Kemble, was rebuilt in 1872-7
1952: Kemble Church Plan -
All Saints, Kemble, 1952 plan
1964: The spire was restored.
2004: the porch, All Saints, Kemble, looked like this - with no buttresses -
The Porch, All Saints Kemble, 2004
Kemble Church Millenium East Window, 2004
It is hard for those who have never known persecution,
And who have never known a Christian,
To believe these tales of Christian persecution,
It is hard for those who live near a Bank
To doubt the security of their money.
It is hard for those who live near a Police Station
To believe in the triumph of violence.
Do you think that faith has conquered the World
And that lions no longer need keepers?
Do you need to be told that whatever has been, can still be?
Do you need to be told that even such modest attainments
As you can boast in the way of polite society
Will hardly survive the Faith to which they owe their significance?
Men! Polish your teeth on rising and retiring;
Women! Polish your fingernails:
You polish the tooth of the dog and the talon of the cat.
Why should men love the Church? Why should they love her laws?
She tells them of Life and Death, and of all that they would forget.
She is tender where they would be hard,
and hard where they would like to be soft.
She tells them of Evil and Sin, and other unpleasant facts.
They constantly try to escape
From the darkness outside and within
By dreaming of systems so perfect that no one will need to be good.
But the man that is will shadow
The man that pretends to be.
And the Son of man was not crucified once for all,
The blood of martyrs not shed once for all,
The lives of the Saints not given once for all:
But the Son of Man is crucified always
And there shall be Martyrs and Saints.
(Back to Cricklade to Thames Head)