St Bartholemew's Church, Lower Sapey, Worcestershire

Lower Sapey, Worcestershire WR6 6HE
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A Norman time capsule in a beautiful setting

A winding lane leads up to the humble but delightful church of St Bartholomew, which sits on a steep bank above a picturesque stream. Its only companions are a scattering of stone and timber-framed eleventh-century houses.

The charm and interest of St Bartholomew's lie in the fact that little has changed since it was built in Norman times. It is very simple in form. The wonderful oak porch is weathered to a beautiful silver-grey and is covered by a great tangle of honeysuckle in summer. This leads to a splendid door set within a fine Norman doorway.

Inside, the church has a pleasing simplicity - a floor made of clay and gravel, a little west gallery and plain plastered walls that bear traces of wallpaintings from many centuries - you can just make out part of a lion, from a seventeenth-century royal coat of arms. Other fragments date from the Middle Ages.

Most of the fittings were transferred when a new and more convenient parish church was built in Victorian times. St Bartholomew's was neglected for more than a century after this, and was even used as a farm building! Only in the last 20 years, thanks to efforts of local people, has it been rescued from oblivion.

If you visit in the summer, when the countryside is at its most lush and a mass of honeysuckle hangs over the porch, it is a truly unforgettable experience.