EXPLORING THE EXTERIOR

You enter through a beautiful oak Lychgate, on a flint and brick base. Among the memorials to the people of Forncett are several headstones from the 18th and 19th centuries including those to Rose Fish (1782) and John Coleman (1775) - see opposite picture

The building blends with the greens of the churchyard. Its walls are constructed of thousands of flints and stones gathered from the fields. Limestone from the East Midlands provides the corners, doorways and windows.

Some of flintwork in the north wall and in the lower part of the south wall, are signs of early work - indicating that the core of the nave may well have stood for at least 900 years.

In the 1400s the older and smaller windows were replaced by two-light Perpendicular windows, and the present north and south doorways were fashioned. There appears to be the outline of a lost earlier window in the masonry to the west of the south east nave window, where the mortar is a buff-colour.

The Chancel was substantially restored in 1869-70 to the designs of JB Pearce, who accurately reproduced the Decorated Style of architecture providing attractive two-light north and south windows and a handsome four-light east window.

On the north side, the carefully preserved a tiny Lancet Window (c.1200) has been relocated from its original position in the opposite wall. The walls are strengthened, and beautified, by buttresses with their flint facing punctuated by horizontal bands of stone.

The southern Vestry was added in 1884.

The Tower was first constructed from money left in 1432. The three-light west window was renewed in 1869. The ringing-chamber and the Perpendicular belfry windows are fitted with large wooden louvres. Beneath the north and south parapets are a pair of stone gargoyle faces.

The 15th century north Porch has four old and worn burial-slabs in its floor. The moulded arch is also 15th century. The door with its linenfold patter has been opening and closing to admit worshippers and visitors for maybe half a millennium.

churchyard in sun

entrance path to church

churchyard in morning sun


new porch entrance

lancett window


aerial view of church

lychgate st mary church