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Thursday, 20 October 2016

Frostenden, All Saints church

I first came to visit this church over four years ago and was disappointed to find it locked, but recently I heard that it was now open on a Saturday morning….I’m so pleased I made a return visit  here. I hadn’t been expecting too much to excite me because from the outside it looks like any other  unpretentious little country church, but I was so wrong as it’s a sheer delight inside! The church is situated down a lane leading to Frostenden Hall and these are the only two dwelling places in sight 

A delightful sundial hangs over the C14 porch door – it bids us “Vigilate et Orate” (watch and pray)

I have never before seen  so much old graffiti on a church door arch, some of it over 400 hundred years old

A corbel head looks down on us from the porch ceiling and a C14 bench stands on either side of the porch
Stepping into the nave there’s a Holy water stoup in the S wall and set against the W wall is a resplendent Altar frontal chest which was made from panels of an early pulpit (the present pulpit is C19)

The font is late C15 and has Tudor roses and blank shields around it’s bowl 

The interior of the church is larger than I expected and light and airy. It had a late C14 side chapel added which retains it’s piscina in the S wall, and has a memorial window dedicated to Frances Elizabeth G Vincent.

One of the two biers belonging to this church has now found it's home in this side chapel, it is a hand-held bier from the early C17. A wheeled model from 1925 stands at the rear of the nave

 Electricity is now making use of the wrought iron bracketed oil lamp holders 

Although there’s now no chancel screen the open stairs leading to the rood loft remain in the S wall of the chancel behind the prayer desk, which has two C15 poppy head bench ends.

I believe the chancel dates from c1220 and the sanctuary still has a piscina and sedilia in situ.  The oak reredos is fairly modern (1916) but it blends in beautifully with the rest of the church furnishings.

There are two pleasant stained glass memorial windows in the chancel- one from the 1890s and the other a decade later.

Certainly main benefactors of this church were the Glover family who resided at Frostenden Hall 1626-1769. The church contains many memorials to them on the chancel walls and floor.

 I love the name on one particular ledger-stone in the church  ‘Hammondus’ Glover  - sadly I seem to have mislaid the photograph I took of that particular ledgerstone!

There is a nice war memorial just through the gate leading up to the church

This church has a large fairly unkempt graveyard which is a shame as the church itself is lovely.

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Cookley church Suffolk - St Michael and all Angels

This church has changed a lot since the last time I attempted to visit it. It went through a period where it was locked and appeared unloved and uncared for….Not so today! When I returned there recently I found it has been transformed into a delightful church.  It is set back from the road and stands in the midst of Scotch pine trees, it has to be reached by passing through the garden of an adjacent occupied cottage
A wooden porch shelters the fine Norman doorway 

The interior is now orderly and full of light, and although everything about this church is plain it suits this simple country church.

Just through the entrance into the church there’s a double brass dated 1595 fixed to the West wall, this belongs to William and Margeri Browne with their four sons and four daughters. This family must have been local to this parish but they are buried elsewhere

In a glass case next to it are photographs of various graffiti found by workmen when they renewed the lead on the tower in the year 2000, some of this graffiti is as early as the C16

The slim tower looks to be from the C13 and has a West window which has  *Y* tracery dating from about 1300

There was a restoration done on this church in 1890

The original north Norman doorway now leads into a vestry which was added on to the nave

The reredos behind the altar is delightful 

An old wooden screen now separates the nave from the tower ... and on the West wall high above the tower arch remains what used to be a door entrance into the tower

 The font is in the traditional C15 style with Angels and and shields alternating around it's bowl

It was a delight to find one of the original uprights to the long lost medieval rood screen, reclining against the south chancel arch.

Although most of the church furnishings are C19 there are four remaining C15 pew benches which have delightful carvings on their elbows

The nave roof is of the hammer-beam type and has wooden corbel head stops on the roof supports

 A simple piscina and dropped sill sedilia can be seen in the sanctuary 

The churchyard contains some interesting headstones 

I am so glad I made this second journey here to visit what has now become a charming welcoming church.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Rockland St Mary's church,Norfolk

Situated in the village, it’s a short walk through the churchyard via a path which has a hooped railing fence on either side. The church has a slim tapering tower.
Opposite the Victorian porch stands a memorial cross dedicated to the men who lost their lives in WW2  

The church doorway is C14 and it’s door retains it’s original ring handle

As I entered the church I noticed an overwhelming fragrance of Lillies – this came from a beautifully arranged pedestal of flowers in the sanctuary

There's a C15 font which has angels and shields around it's bowl and some rather garish painted figures on it's stem.

 The pulpit was installed to commemorate the Jubilee of Queen Victoria.

..Sadly the church lost it’s thatched roof in 1892 , the same year as new pews were installed.

Ladders have to be used to go up into the belfry tower  

Two old roundel depictions  of Martha and Mary have been inserted into a window on the N side of the nave. And on the nave’s S side set into a niche in the chancel arch is a lovely statue of the blessed virgin 

In the sanctuary there is a memorial window in the N wall dedicated to Mary Holblack and the  stained  glass in the S window opposite depicts St George

I believe the rather fine reredos which was painted by the daughter of a Victorian vicar had some of the old rood screen inserted into it. 

Two poignant brasses in the sanctuary are for Robert Cocke who died June 1638 aged 22 and his infant son John who followed him four months later. 
I love the name on one ledgerstone in particular ‘Arranmynthea’wife of John Cook, she died in Nov 1792 six years after her husband.

Back out into the graveyard and a few metres East of St Mary’s chancel there are a few remaining   fragments of masonry, these belong to the church of St Margaret which was built at the same time as St Mary’s but  became a ruin over 300 years ago.

Along the NE side of the churchyard there is an unusual recent grave maker..I've never seen a similar epitaph anywhere else.

This is a fine church surrounded by it's neat and orderly churchyard

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Haddiscoe St Mary's church

When I last visited this church some years ago it was on a wet miserable day, and the interior of the church seemed to exude the same dismal aura. This second visit on a bright warm summer’s day proved that first impressions aren’t always correct, as this church is utterly charming! It stands on a grassy knoll overlooking the surrounding countryside.

The chequerboard top to the tower is C15 and tops what is essentially a Saxon tower which has an internal diameter of just eight feet.

The C15 south porch protects a very fine Norman doorway which has a contemporary stone carved plaque above it depicting a figure of a seated priest with a dove over his head 

High above the tower belfry arch remains a Saxon doorway into the tower which looks down into the nave

A North Aisle was added on to the nave in the C13

The church has undergone some restoration over the years, although a C13 double piscina in the SE wall of the chancel remains in situ.

Early roundel windows on both sides of the chancel are blocked up

 On the nave walls fragments of medieval paintings can still be seen, the clearest one is over the arcade into the North aisle and is of St Christopher holding the Christ child. (this particular subject is frequently seen in medieval wall paintings, usually opposite the church entrance. He is the patron saint of travellers, and it was thought people passing through would have a safe day after seeing his image)

The C15 font is in the traditional East Anglia style but now has a modern cover

There are some interesting ledgerstones in the church. I was fascinated by one let into the nave aisle. It is in Dutch..the translation reads "In memory of Bele daughter of John, wife of Peter the Dykestaff, who died 2nd December 1525" (It was during this time that many men came over from Holland and settled in Britain to help with Britain's land reclamation)

An influential family by the name of Grimmer resided in Haddiscoe during the mid C19 and apart from a large ornate memorial plaque in the North wall of the North aisle dedicated to George Grimmer, his wife Lucy and their children William, George and Laura Augusta, there's also a tall memorial gravestone outside in the churchyard for the family as well.                                                                                                                                                                                  I was hoping to find the plaque attached to the outside of the churchyard's South wall for William Slater, he was a coachman in the C18 who met an untimely death when his coach crashed on the then Norwich turnpike, which was directly below the mound where the church and churchyard stand...His plaque was placed on the outer wall high above the exact pot where the crash happened.  Unfortunately on account of the church and churchyard being on high soft ground, the surrounding wall has now collapsed into the wide expanse of verdant growth of trees and bushes which cover the ground down to the track below. This made discovery of Mr Slater's epitaph impossible to find.  No doubt three hundred years ago no-one imagined how much the countryside would change over the ensuing years

There are some interesting headstones in the churchyard..I like the unusual surname on the one shown here 'Tiptod' ..I've never come across that name before.