Orwell Church, Cambridgeshire

A church seems to have existed here from an early time. Orwell village is on part of the highest ground in Southern Cambridgeshire and is near both a spring and a river, making it an obvious place for settlement.

Today’s Church of St. Andrew has nothing any older than around 1388 in its structure. Essentially everything was built between that date and around 1430 and despite some Victorian restoration work what you see today differs little from what you would have seen if you’d visited around 1600.

One of the most exceptional survivals is part of a wooden sculpture in a niche dating to the late 14th Century. The sculpture is of the Crucifixion and St. John and Christ have remained in place, although the Virgin Mary seems to have gone astray at some point.

Unusually for Cambridgeshire the church is built of very local stone – mined at the top of the hill immediately behind the church where Orwell’s much adulterated motte and bailey castle remains can also be found.

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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