From the outside Kimpton seems to be a typical Herts Perp'n'flint job. It's nicely positioned on a hillside leading down to a dry valley*; its castellated two-storeyed porch and tower give an air of grandeur-on-a-budget (though there's something comical about the fact that the flagpole on the tower is about the same height as the spike (spirelet)).
Externally the only hint that it's not all 15th century (though restored) is the chancel east window (the right one of the two large windows in the photo above). Even though the stonework has been renewed, and so might not reflect the original design, the tracery looks as if it dates from the transition between the uncusped lancets of the 13th century Early English style and the complexities of the Decorated (say c.1300).
Push open the door and walk into the light and welcoming interior, however, and you realise that the church is in fact another kettle of fish altogether. The nave comprises six bays - one of the longest in the county by this measure - and, like the chancel window, was built when one style was merging into another, resulting in a third style, sharing some characteristics of both, called (with a certain lack of imagination) Transitional. In ecclesiology the capitalised term 'Transitional' is reserved for the late 12th/early 13th century when the Norman style was changing and becoming the first native form of Gothic, now known as Early English.
|Scalloped capital, Hemel Hempstead, Herts, last quarter 12th cen|
|Scalloped capital, Kimpton, Herts, early 13th century|
Eight of the twelve capitals in Kimpton also feature scallops. However, they all have little variations on the theme. The one above has Y-shaped grooves running down from the scallops. Here are the other seven:
|By Dorothee Fichtmuller, 1993|
* Though in 2001, and occasionally in previous years, the River Kym (or Kyme) has reappeared in the valley after heavy rainfall, causing half a million pounds worth of damage. See here.