Kelmscott : St George

The church is a simple rustic building, the nave and chancel being built in the late 12th century and the transepts being added in the mid 13th century.

About this church

St George’s Church is practically unaltered since the close of the 15th century, thanks to William Morris, who lived at nearby Kelmscott Manor. He was so appalled by some of the Victorian ‘restoration’ work being carried out on medieval churches that he founded the Society for the Preservation of Ancient Buildings.

Kelmscott was a ‘chapel of ease’ until 1430 with the dead having to be carried to Broadwell for burial. The inner porch doorway and nave are predominantly Norman, and the Sanctus bellcote has one of the oldest bells in England, early 13th century. Additions and alteratiosn continued in the medieval period until the building of the South Chapel in about 1320 completed the church plan. The addition of clerestory (upper story) windows in the nave in 1430 was the last medieval alteration and happened at about the time the churchyard was consecrated.

The south porch was added in Tudor times, about 1550, and from then onwards the church has remained unaltered.There are medieval wall paintings in the north transept; the carved corbels in the south transept, which supported the original roof, are said to represent Henry VII, Richard III, and Elizabeth of York; the altar cloth was presented by the wife of William Morris, who is buried in the churchyard.

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