Cambridgeshire Churches

Cambridge, Christ Church

no pictures of this church as yet

This is another of the Cambridge churches designed by Ambrose Poynter, who was also responsible for St Paul's on Hills Road and St Andrew the Great in the town centre. Christ Church was built between 1837 and 1839, the earliest of the three, and in plan it is the most unusual, too.

The churches he built in the 1840s are both in the classic East Anglian mould - west tower, aisled nave, porch, chancel and so on. Christ Church, on the other hand, is almost like an East Anglian basilica church, if such a thing can be imagined. It is an aisled hall built of brick, with neither tower nor chancel.

The west front is a scaled-down copy of King's College chapel, with turrets on the corners and a great west window (though this, sadly, is blocked by an organ). At the base there is an ugly porch, which (like most of the suburban churches in Cambridge) was firmly locked.

In the RHCM photograph, the interior looks interesting - a flat timber roof reinforces the basilica theme, but the shape of the arcades and the clerestory windows are pure Perpendicular (or at least Poynter's interpretation thereof). Big galleries fill the aisles. The juxtaposition of styles is very strange, and the arcades are clumsy (not nearly as elegant as those in St Andrew the Great, which he built four years later), but it looks interesting - I wonder if it has changed since the Royal Commission and Pevsner visited? We'll have to try and get inside.

Christ Church is kept locked, and there are no keyholders listed.

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