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St Nicholas, and Watts Cemetery Chapel

Compton,

Its pre-Norman tower alone would make this church special, but what makes it both unique and mysterious is its two- storey sanctuary. This dates from the end of the Norman period and consists of a lower sanctuary with a rib-vaulted ceiling, above which is the upper sanctuary. Separating the upper sanctuary from the rest of the church is a wooden rail carved from a single block of wood dating from about 1180. That makes it the oldest wooden decorative timber-work in the country. There is much else of interest to see in the church, including a font of about 1160, medieval patterned wall paintings, a 17th-century pulpit, and monuments ranging in date from the 14th to the 18th century. In the east window is a stained glass panel of the Virgin and Child from the early 13th century. In the new churchyard, east of the church, is the extraordinary Watts Cemetery Chapel. This was consecrated by the Bishop of Winchester in 1898 but not finally finished until 1904. It was created by Mary Watts as a memorial to her husband, George, a celebrated Victorian artist. The outside is bright red brick, the inside a dizzying mass of colour, pattern and painted figures that almost defies description. Aldous Huxley is buried in the chapel grounds.

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St Nicholas, and Watts Cemetery Chapel

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