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Kintbury
St. Mary's Church

Kintbury Church was a Saxon Minster, but most of the current building dates from the 12th century. It has good Norman doorways on the north and west sides. The present south transept dates from 1713 but probably replaces an earlier version, perhaps of 1195. This is the date of both the north transept and tower, the latter being extended upwards with attractive chequer-work in the 15th century. It is said this was after the original upper levels were destroyed in a great storm. The 'Kintbury Great Bell' fell into the river and the locals were prevented from retrieving it by the intervention of the Kintbury Witch!

The interior houses a number of interesting monuments. 18th & 19th century tablets to the Dundas family of Barton Court litter the nave and the South transept features those of the Shaws & Dunns of Inglewood House. Margaret Dunn's angel plaque (1890) is particularly beautiful. In the chancel is a brass to the Gunters who lived early in Charles I's reign and there is a Royal Arms of 1683. It is the imposing bust laden structures to the Raymond family in the North transept, however, which catch the eye. Anne & Jonathan Raymond inherited Barton Court from the lady's father, Phillip Jemmett, in 1678. Their portrait busts are not easily seen high on the east wall. However, below, are two huge monuments to their son, Sir Jemmett, and grandson, also Jemmett, whose emperor-like busts can be viewed eye to eye. These monuments are by Peter & Thomas Scheemakers. These were famous Flemish sculptors whose work is rarely seen in a small parish church. The painted text (1588) nearby remembers 'Wild Will Darell' of Littlecote House (Wiltshire). He is infamous for having murdered a baby born in his house, by throwing it into a blazing fire! He managed to escape the hangman by giving his estate up to the judge, who just happened to be his cousin. He apparently retired to Barton Court, but was thrown from his horse and killed at Shefford Woodlands, supposedly after seeing a vision of a burning child. His brother, Thomas, was also buried in Kintbury. His sword and helmet once hung in the church, but they were stolen in 1991.

   

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