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Lower Gravenhurst Church Architecture

The church seen from the south September 2017
The church seen from the south September 2017

The church of Our Lady at Lower Gravenhurst occupies and impressive position, dominating the lower land about it. It was built by Sir Robert de Bilhemore who died about 1361. We know that de Bilhemore built the church because of a brass in the chancel in Norman French which tells us so. The architecture is Decorated, a style then going out of fashion.

Memorial to Robert de Bilhemore March 2014
Brass to Robert de Bilhemore March 2014

The west tower and the chancel east window are both Perpendicular in style. They date from around 1400.

The interior looking east March 2014
The interior looking east March 2014

The church is built of coursed ironstone rubble, with ashlar dressings and clay tile roofs. It is a simple structure, comprising a chancel and nave, forming single unit without a structural division, and a west tower.

 Detail of the rood screen March 2014
Detail of the rood screen March 2014

The octagonal font dates from the 15th century. So, too, does the rood screen, which retains traces of its painted decoration. Most of the benches are original, though some are 20th century copies. The church was declared redundant in 1972 and in 1974 passed into the care of the Churches Conservation Trust meaning that it is usually open for visitation.

The font March 2014
The font March 2014