It is also one of the prettiest churches I’ve seen in a while; small but perfectly formed, with a small graveyard backing onto a stream.
But it is inside that the church’s looks really impress. The walls are covered in the remains of 13th and 14the century paintings – there is George slaying the dragon, along with several watchful women in amazing medieval dress, and flowers adorning the plaster around the windows.
The church is, like many others in Britain, left open for visitors to come and pray during the day – which is rather trusting in Ampney St Mary’s case, as the Ivy Church’s walls are unprotected. The prospect of them being defaced doesn’t bear thinking about (although it’s not as bad as when I went round the Greek islands, and found numerous Roman mosaics left open to the elements – and tourists’ footsteps – because there was no budget to protect them). Hopefully, though, visitors to the Cotswolds, as well as those of us lucky enough to live there, appreciate the history and significance of these paintings and will leave them well alone.
Anyway, here’s a short audio slideshow of some of the artistic wonders of this small Cotswold church, which is online at Vimeo. Enjoy.