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Saturday, 6 February 2016

Ilketshall..St John the Baptist

This modest unobtrusive little church is situated on an incline at a T junction of narrow country lanes. It’s unbuttressed tower is C14 with stepped battements and has a squint hole about a third of the way up

There are clues that suggest there was a church here from the C11
The porch was replaced in 1908 and there appears to be a faint scratch dial on one of the jambs of the C14 inner doorway

The first thing I noticed on my entry into St John’s was the plaster peeling from the walls and the faint smell of damp. The interior of the church is quite dark, especially the chancel where the East window is very busy.  Nice Decalogue panels flank this window.

The plastered ceiling of the nave and chancel is of the barrel type. 

There is no chancel arch to divide the church, therefore it shows up the *weeping walls* of the chancel (weeping walls means nothing more than chancel walls which are out of line with the nave - medieval buildings were seldom aligned with mathematical accuracy)

In the chancel is a nice C14 piscina and a plain dropped-sill sedilia.


The chancel was added onto the East end of the nave in the C!3…there is evidence of this on the outside of the North wall, by a line of quoins at the NW corner of the nave, and the remains of a holy water stoup  which shows there used to be an entrance here
The Victorians added a nice roundel window with pensive headstops above

There’s a C15 font with shields and Tudor roses around it’s bowl and lions guarding it’s shaft stands at the West end of the church

The Royal Arms of William 1V, now grubby with age hangs in the nave.

In the tower recess is a tall banner stave in the wall by the door leading up into the tower…There’s also an old pew which now resides here >>

There are some interesting ledger-stones in the church floor. I particularly liked the one for Anne Gooch in the sanctuary dated 1679 with the scull and crossed bones on it and the motto
“Hodi michi, cras tibi” (Today it is I; Tomorrow it will be you)

There is another one of interest by the South door for Thomas Coleman who lived a long and vigorous life, it extols his virtues, ending with “on the 18th July 1695 at the age of 79 under general decays of Nature without a sigh or groan he fell asleep”   On his daughter’s ledger-stone it tells us she led an exemplary life like her father”

There are many tombstone graves in this little village churchyard

The churchyard is now a Wildlife Sanctuary,

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Kirkstead, Church of St Margaret

This little church is set amidst a tree lined graveyard beside the old Rectory..very picturesque even on a wet miserable day similar to the day on my visit.

There’s a  fine war memorial leading up the path to the church entrance.

Sadly I found the church locked so was unable to explore inside…it wasn’t even possible to take any pictures of the interior through the windows.
I had been hoping to view the memorial tablets of the notable Kerrison family which I’d been told line the nave walls, and also see an early ledger stone mounted on the tower wall which records the death of several children.

There were workmen busy on repair work to the slate roof of the nave adjoining the small chancel with it's apsidal apse, so I found exploring part of the graveyard a ‘no go’ area as 
well….Not a good day after travelling a good many miles to get here!

.…..From what I could see from the outside of the building, it looks as if a great deal of C19 restoration work has taken place here…I found out later that the local Kerrison family from Burgh Hall, Aylsham were responsible for the rebuilding of most of the church in 1864.

…The tower has a nice castellated top


…..The single and double lancet windows are a fine illustration of their type with early Gothic tracery, and most still possess their decorative head stops.


There is a priests door into the chancel which is locked and has a wire protection cover over it....I assume this is to deter intruders...>>

.…..The South entrance has a pleasant wooden porch which gives semi protection from the elements to the C12 door within.

I was pleased to find three Kerrison headstones directly outside the South porch. There might be more family headstones elsewhere in the overgrown churchyard, but the inclement weather persuaded me to curtail my visit here, and decide to return on another day when I hope to find the church unlocked

 Headstone for Roger Kerrison MA who was a JP in Suffolk, born in Yoxford in 1857 and died March 6th 1924 in’s also for his wife Ellen Maria 1867-1940
.  The cross headstone is for their daughter Barbara Eileen Constance d.19th March 194?...she was the wife of Charles Fortescue Webb
.and there's a headstone for Lieu Col Edmund Roger Allday Kerrison 1856-1944 CMG  OBE  Royal Artillery, and for his wife Jessie Matilda 1860-1944…she was the daughter of Rear Admiral Stapleton Greville RN

I’m sure there must be lots more of interest hidden in this church and it’s churchyard, which I hope someday to uncover.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

My Christmas wish...

It's that most wonderful time of year again - Christmas!

My wish is for everyone to spend a happy, healthy and peaceful time with their loved ones...
Sadly I know that for many this won't happen. There seems to be so much strife all over the world, but without us having hope things could easily turn into despair.

I've found from my own personal experience that this year many family members and friends have passed away. It makes me realise we are put on this earth for such a short while, so we should attempt to keep peace and love within our hearts.

My thoughts and prayers are for all grieving families who have lost loved ones this year

     Happy Christmas and I look forward to a brighter 2016 for us all.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

St Mary the Virgin, Aldeby

 …originally this was a priory church.
The peaceful parish of Aldeby reminds me of an outpost almost lost in time, surrounded by water on three sides – the river Waveney and the North Sea.. It’s difficult to imagine what this place must have looked like a thousand years ago when the area was a populous place.

The C12 church began life for an order of Benedictine monks., their abbey which was adjacent to the church was dissolved in 1538 and left to become ruinous. A farm now stands in what was the abbey grounds, with few signs of the abbey which went before
This priory church was also used by the public as well as the monks between 1100-1538 – the public enjoyed the use of the nave while the monks monopolised the chancel.
Standing at the West end of the church and looking East through the lovely transept arches to the East window gives the impression of extra height and length to the church, especially with it’s white plastered ceiling. Originally there would have been a rood screen to divide the chancel from the nave.
Walking up to the church the first thing which caught my eye was the splendid C12 Norman West door with it’s three shafts on either side and lovely capitals.
…but entrance into the church is through the pleasing C14 North porch
Inside there’s a handsome C15 font with octagonal bowl and decorated with roses and shields. I think it’s cover might be Jacobean.
The chancel being somewhat darker than the nave gives the simple Sanctuary a serene atmosphere, and displays the lovely 1888 stained glass East window to perfection
.There is a fine piscina and sedilia which are survivors from the early priory days.
The north transept used to be a chapel (dedicated to St Fursey) but this is no longer in use.

An old ledgerstone dated 1652  for Thomasine Trott made my visit complete…such a great name!

. Sadly some parts of the churchyard could do with some tender loving care.

      Celtic Cross war    memorial  >>

Sunday, 15 November 2015

St Peter's church, Hedenham

This church stands in a pleasant village, with it’s path rising up to the church door….interesting and perhaps a little disconcerting are the graveyard foot stones which pave the last few yards of this path.
                        Before I went inside the church I took a wander around the outside.

The North wall of the nave has three single C13 lancet windows

The chancel  appears to have been carefully restored and it’s East window has lovely tracery.
The South wall windows are of the perpendicular style, with the West tower and porch being similar. The nave buttresses are gabled and have trefoils beneath the gable ends.  A staircase projection is visible from the South side and the tower parapet has stepped battlements.  

Returning back to the South side of the church I found a large memorial tablet on the outer chancel wall for Arthur Jenney who died in 1742….sadly this tablet is badly weathered so I know nothing more about this gentleman..

While in the churchyard I found a row of large flat tombstones belonging to the Carr Family, they each have the family coat of arms on them…I found this unusual as most notable families have a large square family plot for their loved ones to rest in.

Entry into the church is through a late C14 porch door with a sundial above.

A bright airy nave contains a typical C14 font at the West end with it’s carved decoration of roses and shields….There is evidence that this end of the nave is now used for Sunday School purposes
Turning and facing East, one is struck by how colourful the chancel arch and chancel are

Sometimes C19 restorations weren't very successful,but this church seems to have embraced it...Apart from the painting around the chancel arch, there is similar painting on the walls around the chancel windows.

One doesn’t usually see churches painted in this way now, and personally I found the extravagance of the Victorian Gothic style (c1860) a little overwhelming, although nicely done 

 The restored sedilia in the chancel looks rather splendid        

There are a number of impressive wall tablets which adorn the church walls, especially in the chancel where centuries of the Bedingfield family are remembered.

Also in the chancel are ledger stones to the Bedingfield family and a lovely chalice brass on the stone of Rev Richard Greene who died in 1502…Other memorial tablets in the church are mainly for the Garneys family.

 I found the visit to this church fascinating, there is a calm light atmosphere in the nave with it’s traditional oak benches, which is in contrast to the chancel which is busy and darker. 

Traces of medieval wall painting

                                Reredos  >>

        Grave foot stones which are being used as a pathway up to the church
This is a well loved church which has successfully incorporated the new(ish) amongst the old.