St Neot church

St Neot 41It is difficult to stop enthusing about St Neot church and its ‘nationally important’ stained glass. Simon Jenkins gives it four stars and the sun always shines when you visit, despite the proximity of the moor.

A large C15 church with battlements and pinnacles, St Neot stands proud in the village (next door to an excellent pub), on the side of a hill which emphasises its height.

St Neot 16The church itself is tall, wide and light. On a sunny day, great shafts of colour spill onto the floor as the sun streams through the windows. The wagon roof stretches the length of the building, interrupted by the modern rood screen.

The  chancel is obviously the product of a late Victorian/Edwardian high church imagination.

The font is C15 and relatively plain with a large bowl on a C13 base. In one corner is a fine monument to William Bere and his family.

St Neot - Noah detail 1The glory is the glass which bears detailed study. Most of this dates from 1480 to 1530 but it has been moved around and was added to in the early C20.

Each window has its story but the ones with the strongest narrative are those of the Creation and Noah in the south aisle. In Noah’s window, the most physically accessible, we see the prophet building and sailing his ark, and letting off his doves, a fine square sail billowing above his head.

A separate page shows the detail of each window and another recounts the tradition of St Neot.

Outside, in the churchyard, there is an array of crosses with a C15 lantern cross being particularly splendid. This features the Trinity, St James the Great dressed as a pilgrim, St James the less and a bishop.

St Neot 13There is also a cross shaft with some fine interlacing and three Latin crosses.

A short distance away up a valley is the heavily restored St Neot’s well.

Overall, an absolute must for a visit and well worthy of its four stars.

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