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St Leonard, Little Downham (Downham-in-the-Isle), Cambridgeshire

(52°26′0″N, 0°14′35″E)
Little Downham (Downham-in-the-Isle)
TL 526 841
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Cambridgeshire
now Cambridgeshire
  • Ron Baxter

Please use this link to cite this page - https://www.crsbi.ac.uk/view-item?i=4606.

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Feature Sets

Five-bay aisled nave with clerestorey and S doorway under a 15thc. porch, aisleless chancel with N vestry of 1900, W tower. The earliest parts are 12thc. (the lower storey of the tower). For the rest, the elaborate S doorway is early 13thc. in its structure but 12thc. in its decorative repertoire. This is described below, but such other early 13thc. features as the tower arch and nave arcades fall outside the scope of the CRSBI. The church is of mixed flint, pebble and stone, except for the N aisle, of brick, which was restored in 1912. Other restorations took place in 1897 and 1899.


In 1086 the manor belonged to the demesne of Ely Abbey.


Exterior Features



It is probable that the arch of the S doorway has been constructed from elements of two doorways. Certainly the heads of the second order sit very uneasily with the 13thc. structure of chamfered jambs, beaked imposts and pointed arch, both structurally and stylistically. The chevron archivolt cannot be a label but has no supports to make it an order, neither does it fit very well.

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England. Cambridgeshire, Harmondsworth 1954 (2nd ed. 1970), 330.