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The Round Church

Known formally as The Church Of The Holy Sepulchre, the "Round Church" of St Andrew the Great is said to have been built by Pain (Paganus) Peverell, who is also reported to have built the Priory House at Barnwell.

It appears to have been consecrated in 1101, and is the oldest of the four existing round Churches in England, of which the second is at Northampton, the third is the Temple Church in London, and the fourth is at Maplestead in Essex.

The form, so different from that of the ordinary Christian churches of the west, which is derived from the Roman Basilica, was probably taken from the Church of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem or from some of the other Eastern churches.

In the 15th century the church was made to conform to the architectural taste of that time by the substitution of Perpendicular windows for the old ones of the Norman type, and a Perpendicular bell-tower was erected upon it.

In 1841, a complete restoration was effected by the Camden Society, under the auspices of Mr. Salvin, who, following traces of patterns which were left, restored the windows to their Norman character, gave it the present conical cap, and opened out the entrance door-way with its characteristic and fine Norman moulding.

The central area, 19 feet in diameter, is separated from the aisle (which extends all round it) by thick short piers, carrying eight massive round arches. Above, is a second tier of eight arches, each including two smaller arches, forming a triforium. Above these is the short circular tower carrying the cap and pierced with eight plain, small, circular windows.

The chancel and chancel-aisle were built at the time of the Restoration (l841)in Late Decorated style.

Website: Round Church of St Andrew the Great