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Tuesday, 26 July 2016

St Peter's church, Redisham

This is an exquisite tiny church in a delightful setting standing back from a leafy lane. Sadly I fear for it’s future due to the instability of the foundations – the churchyard is evidence of this as the ground is very soft and uneven, making it difficult to walk round for fear of sinking inches into the ground with each step taken  
The church tower unfortunately collapsed during the C19 and now a small bell-cote stands in it’s place.
The Normans gave this modest little church two splendid C12 carved doorways with a chevron design. The South doorway is protected by a plain red brick porch
- and a scratch dial is still visible on the right hand capital of the doorway arch 






 The splendid South medieval entrance door still retains it’s closing ring  







The blocked North Norman doorway is carved in a more simpler chevron design



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



The Stuart pulpit is splendid and has the date 1619 carved upon it. 



A two-light East window has decorated tracery, and there are two lancet windows set into the South wall of the chancel from about the same date. The only stained glass window in the church is the one by the pulpit which is in memory of an early vicar of this church… Whether there was ever a chancel arch I don’t know, although brick responds remain in situ.  (possibly by adding an arch it would have proved too weighty for the church to stand safely on such poor foundations)




There are some early amusing pew ends in the chancel. I love this one which depicts a bear with it's head in a honey pt.


There is only a small churchyard here but it contains a really interesting headstone, it’s for an eleven month old baby girl by the name of Eliza Westrup who died in 1840

…The epitaph on the stone reproaches her father who evidently rejected any connection with her…it reads:-
“Remember me as you pass by, tho’ you my father did me deny.
Glad were you to hear the sound of the bell that passed me to the ground.
If you were as free from sin as I, you would not be afraid to die.
As I am now so must you be, therefore prepare to follow me”
I wonder if seeing this epitaph would have pricked her father’s conscience!...(Unfortunately nowadays the writing is barely legible due to weathering).





 Long pathway from the church gate up to the church >>

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

St Peter's church, South Elmham

This delightful medieval church stands just inside the church wall alongside a quiet country road…it is shielded from the road by trees, making taking photographs of the outside of the church quite difficult.
The first thing I noticed when I drew up by the church gate was the self seeded wallflowers which were growing all over the tower walls - a real delight to see.
I think the South porch must have been originally built in the C14 but has undergone later repair work…small weathered headstops flank the porch doorway.  What appears to be the remains of a small scratch dial is on the West wall just beyond the porch


A charming C15 font displaying carved roses and shields around it’s bowl stands just through the church door, it is topped by a C17 cover. These carvings still look so lovely that I feel the font must have been restored.

It is such a pity the stone corbel heads on the roof wall posts have all been brutally defaced, I imagine these would have depicted angels or maybe sovereign heads 
The pulpit is most probably C18 but the beautiful rood screen is from a later date. possibly as late as early C20, although there is evidence of an earlier rood screen. 

 There is a handsome cusped niche on either side of the chancel arch, both with a crocketted ogee arch - and down the sides of the chancel columns remain small head carvings.
The East window stands above a delightful oak reredos


An early C14 piscina is in the south wall of the sanctuary

For many years the Tasburgh’s - a family of some consequence were closely connected to this church. John Tasburgh  d 1473  and his widow Margery d 1484 requested to be buried in the Chapel of Our Lady Virgin Mary which had been built on the North side of the chancel toward the end of the C14 and it adjoined the chancel by a large stone archway . This chapel was desecrated – possibly during the Reformation, and by the early C19 had disappeared with the Tasburgh family tombs long gone…the only evidence now to show that there was ever a North chapel here is two of the Tasburgh tomb panels decorated with quatrefoils which contain shields, which were used to form  part of the foundations of the wall which was erected to fill in the North wall archway.


This is a pleasant church and churchyard to visit, although the churchyard is quite overgrown, but it contains a few interesting gravestones


















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.