“Sarah, the daughter of Sir Henry and Lady d’Avigdor Goldsmid, was drowned in a sailing accident near Rye in 1963. The grief-stricken family commissioned the Russian artist, Marc Chagall, to design a new east window for their local church in memory of their daughter.”
“The joy of Newington is on its walls. They owe their bold colouring to being not fresco but oil on plaster. The most prominent is the murder of Becket. This familiar scene of early medieval piety is singularly horrific, with Becket’s head spouting blood as the sword cleaves it in two.”
“The tombs are among the most eccentric in England. Little is known of the Swinbrook Fettiplaces but they clearly meant their church to remember them. There are two monuments along the north chancel wall, each with three effigies lying on shelves. The six have been compared to merchandise in a shop, passengers travelling steerage on a steamer, or a congregation of the dead, awakened to watch something important on television.”
“Church Hanborough’s most treasured work is the Norman tympanum over the north door. This portrays St Peter with his key, the lion of St Mark and a Lamb of God, and appears to have escaped Victorian restoration. With its roll-mouldings and zigzag decoration, the carving is simple and childlike. The lion appears to be holding a stone but a hand reaches down from Heaven to restrain it.”
Jenkin’s book accuses Warkton of “plodding political correctness” for failing to mention the magnificent Montagu monuments in the church guidebook, “instead directing visitors to the graveyard outside, where ‘stones bear the names of the humble village families…'”
But today, after an extensive renovation, guides greet visitors at the door, give tours, and sell books all about the extraordinary set of monuments.