The Architecture

All periods are to be found, the work of 8 or 10 designers.


Saxon (c.680-1075)

`Long & Short' work at south-east angle of the nave (exterior).

Priest's Door in south wall of chancel. Over this notice two birds crudely carved (the eagles of St.Medard's legend). Also a man on horseback which may be intended as St. George. A large opening was cut later, probably to admit light; holes for bars may be seen.


Norman (1060-1200)

First stage of the tower and arch opening into the nave.

Second, or belfry stage of tower.

Beautiful round-headed doorway in North wall of nave, once no doubt the principal entrance. Notice the enriched lozenge and dog-tooth designs in decoration.


Early English (1190-1280)

South porch

Arcade of nave (3 arches and their columns)

Chancel arch

Lancet window behind font

Piscina in south aisle, placed over another.(13th Century)

Decorated (1280-1360)

The Spire

Easter Sepulchre or Founder's Tomb, of similar design to one at Castle Bytham, but here the canopy is of later date than the lower part. Note the ball-flower ornament. Three light (geometrical) window at East end of aisle.


Perpendicular (1360-1547)

Middle window in North wall of nave.
(the two on either side are modern)

East window (late, about 1500)

Three niches in North wall of nave, curiously placed, bearing some original colouring. Probably not their original position; the two lower ones may have been sedilia (priest's seats).


The Church


The Parish church of Little Bytham is unique in the British Isles in being dedicated to twin saints, St. Medard and St. Gildard. Their festival is 8th June. The reason for this isolated dedication is uncertain, but probably came about as a result of an endowment by a Norman Lord of the Manor. Medard is one of a group of five Frankish saints favoured by Merovingian royalty (C6-750). There are several dedications to this group of saints in Eastern England.


St. Medard's attributes are an eagle giving him shelter, with two horses at his feet. The legend is that the saint, who was a much respected old man, was walking with his friends one day, when it began to rain heavily. An eagle came to hover over his head, spreading its wings to give him shelter, and thus indicating that God was looking after him. It is said of his feast day, 8th June, "S'il pleut le jour de S. Medard, ii pleut quarante jours plus tard", a French equivalent to St. Swithun!


St. Medard is invoked for fertility (crops, vines and childbirth), rain and against toothache. He is patron to brewers, idiots and lunatics.


In origin, the church building is Saxon, and was added to in the Romanesque period by the addition of the chancel, with extensions in the 13th century and later.