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Tuesday, 28 June 2016

Huntingfield, the church of St Mary.

This Grade 1 listed church is found by negotiating through a myriad of country leafy lanes in Suffolk. It stands a little way back from the road and is a joy to behold, surrounded by mature trees and hedges. 

Just through the church gates is a beautiful memorial cross, it stands adjacent to the gravestone of the Rev and Mrs Holland

The C15 porch has a facade of pretty fushwork and over its arch is a small statue of the Virgin Mary - this replaced the previous one about one hundred years ago.

Inside the porch on the jamb of the church doorway is the remains of a medieval scratch dial and alongside it is a Holy Water stoup.

On entering the church one is struck by the beauty of all the restoration work – not least by the elaborate decoration on both nave and chancel ceilings which was painted by Mrs Mildred Holland (wife of the then Rector) in the years between 1859 -1866. She must have been a very accomplished artist to solely recreate the splendour of a typical late medieval Angel ceiling. It’s nice to know that her labour of love is on show here for all future generations to witness and admire 

The splendid late medieval font is at the West end of the nave and stands before the bell tower which has five bell ropes – there’s a small door which leads from here up steps to the tower. Also in this bell tower mounted on it’s South wall are some stone fragments from a Saxon coffin which were unearthed about a hundred years ago when a local farmer was ploughing one of his fields 

I believe the fine font cover and the glorious brass lectern were added to the church as a memorial to Mrs Holland by her husband. 

The nave has both North and South aisles, with the arcade arches now modified. The chancel was added in C13 

No rood screen remains but there is evidence of a rood stairway and from holes in the chancel arch that there used to be one here.
In the chancel the Vanneck pews have carved greyhounds on their ends, while the others support lions and various saints on theirs 

A table tomb rests on the spot in the north wall of the chancel where an Easter Sepulchre once stood. The tomb is for John Paston who died 1575... The Pastons were a notable Elizabethan family. A few traces of medieval wall painting can still be seen on the wall behind the tomb.

There are some nice wall memorials and ledgerstones  in the church

This church has had some influential patrons through the years. 
 During the middle of the C18 the wealthy Vanneck family added a brick Vault onto the side of the chancel (NB Their carved greyhound emblem at the top corners of the vault walls)..It is the benevolence of this family which provided much of the fine C19 restoration in this church.  

This church is beautifully maintained, the tiles on the chancel floor sparkle with cleanliness. I would strongly recommend a visit from anyone interested in seeing a superb C19 restoration, but be prepared as you might get lost while trying to find this little gem deep in the Suffolk countryside.

Monday, 20 June 2016

All Saints church Worlingham

Although the main entrance to this church is through the lychgate alongside the busy road, drivers shouldn’t be deterred from visiting this pleasant church as there is a car park for the church just down the adjacent side road.

The lychgate serves as a memorial for the men who lost their lives at sea during WW1

All Saints had a thorough restoration in the mid C19 – one of the better restorations carried out by the Victorians
While walking around the outside of the church one sees an obvious unusual feature -  the church has a  small C14 South aisle which only extends along the length of the chancel…I wonder if this was meant to remain like this or the original plan was to make it the full length of the nave as well…...

Standing against the outside of the South wall of the nave is a marble chest tomb for John Felton who died in 1702, it was he who was responsible for the building of Worlingham Hall. His daughter Elizabeth married into the notable Playter family of Sotterley, and it is their weathered coat of arms which is displayed on the wall above this tomb.
Entry into this bright but chilly church is via the North porch. 
The screen which separates the nave from the belfry is made up from four panels from the old C15 rood screen along with two new doors….some of the bench pews nearby are a mixture of original and new wood with original poppy head ends 

There is a rather fine C17 memorial hanging on the West end of the South wall for the Duke family

…also at that end of the church is this splendid chest – possibly early C16 

The C15 font is carved with lions and angels bearing shields 

The chancel arch was replaced in C19 by a screen, although the door to the original rood stairs remains in the North wall near the pulpit 

I‘ve read one report which states that the lectern in this church was fashioned from oak from HMS Victory (Admiral Nelson’ ship)

In the South aisle is a fine C19 memorial for Robert Sparrow who was killed in Tobago in 1805 and also for his grandson

The chancel is darker compared to the nave, but has a lovely 3 light East window depicting the crucifixion

Two pleasing priests chairs stand on either side of the altar 

…and what appears to be the only brass (on view)  fastened to the Chancel North wall, it’s for Nicholas and Mary Wrenne of worlingham Hall and dated 1511

When a new bypass was built in 1981 the mortal remains from graves of an old vanished neighbouring church were discovered, these were re-interred into a grave in All Saints churchyard and a nice stone erected to their memory.

The churchyard in Spring awash with bluebells

It's a gentle walk from the lychgate up to the church entrance

The C19 restoration to this church was done to a high standard, which wasn't always the case among church restorations from that time.  There is much more information I could impart about this church but sadly this blog instalment would take up far too much time and space... A visit to All saints is well worthwhile.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Holton, St Peter's church

This charming country church set in a well kept sprawling churchyard, stands a little way apart from the village

There’s a special rail for bicycles placed near the entrance to the church - don’t often see that.

A statue of St Peter in an ogee niche over the C15 South porch door welcomes all worshippers into his church.

The South Norman doorway has a contemporary stone tablet with an animal (lion or dragon?) carved on it

The porch windows are pleasing C19 replacements

The long north aisle has four lancet windows and is separated from the nave by an open arcade

The C15 octagonal font has the usual Tudor roses and shields carved on it's bowl

The plain oak reredos below the East window looks rather severe. It stands behind a C17 Stuart communion table.
The Y traceried East window dates from the 1300s and now holds pleasant C19 stained glass.

The priest's door into the chancel is flanked by C15 windows

During the C19 restoration the previous pulpit dated 1678 was replaced

There are fine memorials on the north aisle wall commemorating service men from WW1, and a plaque for the service personnel from this village in WW2.

There's also a plaque to the memory of the American 8th Army Air Corps who flew out of Holton during WW2

I love this churchyard, it's on different levels with a 1914-1918 war memorial standing down in the bottom graveyard. Lots of small areas have been left for wildlife conservation, but it was nice to see there were mown footpaths around them.