|Thorpe's yew tree|
The parish church is dedicated
to St. John the Baptist. The building is believed to date from the 13th century
but the site may well have been a place of worship in earlier times. The magnificent
yew tree in the churchyard supports this likelihood. It is of exceptional
size and uniformity being considerably over 1000 years old.
The tower has a saddle-back roof and only three bells; one being cast in nearby Chacombe being inscribed: “Henry Bagle made mee 1636 - God save King Charles".
Inside, the church reflects
material Victorian restoration but there are three wall paintings dating from
the 14th and 15th centuries. Unfortunately they are superimposed but it is
possible to see the Christ-child sitting on the shoulder of St. Christopher.
The 16th century carved stone Kirton monument depicts Thomas Kirton, his wife Mary and their family of twelve children; infants in cradles representing children who died in infancy. The Kirtons occupied the manor house from about 1550 to 1685.
The church also has an almery probably with its original door, a piscina and an interesting low-side window with a hinged shutter.
(Main photograph: St. John the Baptist Church, Thorpe Mandeville, 2006)