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Knotting Church Architecture

The church from the south April 2015
The church from the south April 2015

Is there a more atmospheric church in the county than Saint Margaret of Antioch in Knotting? It is thoroughly unspoiled inside and out and, despite its proximity to a road, it is a pool of tranquillity where the past seems close to the surface.

 The nave looking east April 2015
The nave looking east April 2015

The building is constructed from limestone rubble and has old clay-tiled roofs. It comprises a west tower, a nave and a chancel and a small south aisle.

The chancel arch March 2014
The chancel arch March 2014

The church has its origins in the 12th century and, given its dedication, may have had a crusading knight as its patron. The nave is Norman. This is shown by the chevrons of the chancel arch and the small Norman south window.

 Chancel south west window March 2014
Chancel south-west window March 2014

The chancel was rebuilt in the late 13th century as shown by the lancet windows. The small south aisle, almost more a transept by its narrow shape, was added at this time just west of the chancel arch and extending only as far as the south porch and door. 

The church from the south-west April 2015
The church from the south-west April 2015

The tower is much later. It has a datestone of 1615 in the parapet. It is likely that a bellcote preceded this tower and that it would have sat just over the west window, where the masonry is very thick.

 West tower arch March 2014
West tower arch March 2014

The ach into the tower is described in the Bedfordshire volume of The Buildings of England series as “barbaric and quite undatable”, the suggestion being that it may have been a Norman west door into the nave.

 Benches March 2014
Benches March 2014

The benches are a nice survival. They date from the 16th and 17th centuries. The chancel gates were set up in 1637 following cock-fighting in the chancel on the three previous Shrove Tuesdays. The pulpit and reading desk are also 17th century.

Chancel gates March 2014
Chancel gates March 2014