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The Belfry Door | by j a thorpe
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The Belfry Door

Denton is a village in situated off the Northampton to Bedford Road. It has a typical Northamptonshire village church on a mound above an attractive village green.

 

However if you take the trouble to obtain the key to the church you will have a wonderful surprise.

 

When you enter the building you cannot help but gasp at the sight in front of you,as the whole of the interior is decorated with wonderful biblical murals painted by the celebrated local artist Henry Bird.

 

The idea for the scheme originated in 1960 after discussions between Henry Bird, the incumbent and the churchwardens. The next 3 years were spent planning the mural scheme, including the making of a scale model of the church. The plans were approved by everyone at St Margaret's, but unfortunately the Diocese refused to give permission.

 

Various clergy came and went, but Henry did not lose faith in his scheme, and had been busy making a set of full size cartoons of the proposed 16 panels. He used villagers from Denton as his models, and there was a steady stream of local people to his studio in Northampton to pose for the 31 figures portrayed in the cartoons.

 

In 1969 the Diocese finally gave permission for the scheme to go ahead - all the Church needed now was the £3000 to meet the cost, and many and varied fundraising events were arranged, but, unfortunately the architect decided that all the old plaster would need to be removed, and replastered with a special texture in readiness for the paintings costing a further £1000. Further problems with the ceiling and wiring delayed the project until 1974.

 

Despite all the problems and setbacks work on the murals started in February 1975, and were completed in the summer of 1976. The fitting of the lamp standards was completedin 1977.

 

The whole scheme may have taken 17 years from inception to completion, but it was worth it.!

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Taken on May 18, 2010