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Wednesday, 30 November 2016

South Elmham, St Margaret's church

This is a lovely country church situated on a bend in a narrow road which curves itself around two sides of the churchyard. 
As with many churches St Margaret’s underwent restoration in the mid C19
The tower is unusual as it has no parapet. Around it’s base is lovely flushwork, and small windows placed in various positions enhance the tower stair turret
The old village stocks now stand in the porch of the church, these are unusual as they contain five holes

The porch is two storey with a small contemplation room above the entrance.

A scratch dial can be easily seen on the West quoin of the South wall, with traces of two more.

The fine South doorway is Norman

The early C15 font standing in front of the tower arch is in the style frequently seen in East Anglian churches

Over the small door leading up to the tower is some splendid C17 graffiti which includes the name John Sallynge 1627

All the church furnishings are from the C19

On the walls around the church are what look like Victorian oil lamp holders 

On the South side of the nave wall is a splendid example of a Norman slit window

The rood loft stairs remain in situ in the NE wall of the nave 

The chancel arch was renewed in the C19

In the C14 chancel NE wall is a lovely early C16 Easter Sepulchre 

.... and in the sanctuary on the south side of the altar are two badly deteriorated dado panels which were originally part of the old rood screen

The East window contains vibrant stained glass from the 1880s 

 A few fragments of medieval glass have been rescued and are now displayed in a glass case mounted on the SE wall in the sanctuary 

It had started raining heavily as I left the church so I cut short my exploration around the churchyard, but one thing I found interesting was the number of gravestones in one section close to the tower all belonging to the Lord family from the late C19 and early C20

This is a charming homely country church which I intend to revisit

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Rumburgh...St Michael and St Felix church

One has to cross private land to reach the West entrance gate to this church. 
  From this direction it looks uninspiring with it’s bulky C13 severely truncated tower, but walking through the graveyard toward the church it becomes apparent that this West tower is very old – it is all that remains of a Benedictine Priory which was founded just before the Norman Conquest until it’s suppression in 1528
The tower has a weatherboard belfry which is topped by a high slated roof.

The C15 porch found along the South side of the church protects a simple early C13 inner doorway

Entering into the nave the interior is light and airy, but at the same time appears to be an austere building in which to worship, although I found it’s brick floor very pleasing.

Just through the door on the S wall is a recess for a Holy Water stoup 

The pews although plain have nice poppy head ends 

The pulpit is Jacobean and rather stern looking, it was restored during the late C19

Nearby in the N wall of the nave is a doorway to the rood stairs 

The octagonal C14 font stands on a modern base and has a Stuart cover

A C19 bier rests just through the chancel arch 

There is a fine old chest in the church

 Along the South wall of the chancel is a round headed arched doorway which is blocked - this was most probably done in the C15 when buttresses were built on the outside to strengthen the church wall. The door opposite was most probably used as the Monks entrance
The sanctuary is set at a slightly higher level than the rest of the chancel and is paved with nice floor tiles   The delightfully age- worn chancel screen has fine tracery under it’s arches 

The church windows are mainly clear glass with a few having a small amount of stained glass in their upper tracery

There is a neat little organ which once stood in the church at Shipmeadow, but was transferred here when Shipmeadow was made into a private home in the 1980s 

There are some interesting ledgerstones in the nave aisle floor and other memorials in the chancel 

A splendid old bench resides in the entrance porch

This is a church with a long and interesting   history and has a large churchyard to investigate

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Christ Church, Lowestoft

This parish adjacent to the North Sea has suffered more than most.   The church was built in 1868 to serve the fishing community between the harbour and lighthouse, and for fifty years it quietly and dutifully served the people of it’s parish.
  Zeppelin raids  between 1914-1918 devastated the homes of this community. The few cottages which had been left habitable were finally demolished in the 1930s. These were replaced by council houses, but even these couldn’t survive the devastation that came with the extensive German bombing in the 1939-1945 war.  It changed this parish for ever….but the worst destruction came at the hands of the mighty North Sea which had provided the livelihood for this fishing community. The well documented East Coast floods of 1953 began the decline of the fishing industry in the town. The whole of this beach parish including the church was left deep in sea water - Christ church which had withstood all traumas through the years was so flooded that boats were used inside the church to ferry out belongings. Nowadays this parish is mostly made up of warehouses and Industrial buildings, plus the tallest wind turbine in the UK, this is close to Ness Point the most Easterly spot in Britain.

 On the outside of the fine West door of the church are details and height of this flood 

The small lead covered spire stands proud on top of the modest tower. 

I admit to feeling a little unsettled on visiting here as I knew the church doesn’t stand E-W as other churches but N-S.. therefore it’s East window is facing North. I suspect this was done because the small plot of ground the church was allotted would only accommodate the church if built in this particular direction.

Entrance into the church is via the North porch 

The nave is wide and spacious with arcades to divide the central nave from the North and South aisles.

Most of the church furnishings are C20 although I believe the wooden lectern to be from the C19 

The fine wood carving in this church reminds us that this craft is still alive and as good as it was in yesteryear. The beautiful octagonal font from 1952 and the choir stalls emphasises this 

The chancel arch has a striking line of scripture around it – this is the first thing that greets the eye on entering the church.

An early C20 East window depicting the Ascension stands above a reredos which is made up of stone panels painted with the Decologue and the Creed.

There are many wall plaques around the church walls  - understandably in this church a lot of them are for families who had a strong connection with the sea.

Thankfully Christ Church has shown that it can survive all adversity and today is thriving once again. It welcomes people of all ages and whatever their faith through it’s door.

Thursday, 3 November 2016

Remembrance Day

With everlasting gratitude to ALL the men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their Country....

Personal respect to my own family ancestors....

John Edward Goodall aged 27yrs who died on April 5th 1918 when his ship HMS Pomerania was torpedoed in the Atlantic Ocean.

Pvt. Robert Greatrix - North Staffs Regiment, aged 20yrs who died on the Western Front 17th April 1918….buried in Mendinghem Military Cemetery, NW of Poperinge, Belgium

 George A. Jonas MM - Leicestershire Regiment, aged 33yrs who died on the Western Front, October 8th 1918 buried at Mont Huon Military Cemetery, Le Trepor, France

Telegraphist Henry Scragg aged 22yrs, died 5th July 1944 when his ship HM Trawler Ganilly, Royal Naval Patrol Service hit a mine and was sunk off the coast of Normandy.

We Will Remember Them

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Halesworth. The church of St Mary the Virgin

You’ll find this church just away from the busy town centre. It is a welcoming and friendly place of worship  
A war memorial stands inside the church gates which leads up a path to the church’s North entrance.

In the church wall leading up to the the North porch  I noticed weather-worn statues and coats of arms in the buttresses

  The north porch was built by Sir William Argentein to celebrate his safe return from the battle of Agincourt in 1415 

The church interior is quite special, it has arcades dividing the central nave from both the N and S aisles …I understand that C18 galleries once graced the church adding to it’s seating capacity

At the rear of the church stands a lovely brass Eagle lectern from the Victorian era 

 A wooden reredos which was erected in 1914 stands behind the C17 altar table

There are some fine wall memorials including the notable Bedingfield family who lived in Halesworth from 1595-1705

*Dane* stones dating from the C9 were found among rubble when the old chancel arch was replaced in 1889,  these are possibly from the Saxon church which previously stood on this site. They were reset on the South side of the altar near the C19 piscina and sedilia. A C14 piscina is in the North wall of the Sanctuary opposite

The only remaining medieval glass is in the South chancel window and shows the Argentein coat of Arms.

There is a beautiful Vestry doorway in the North chancel wall 

The C15 font is in the typical East Anglian style with carved lions, shields and woodwoses.

A hatchment for Richard Assheton who died in 1641 aged 19 while visiting his uncle here in Halesworth, hangs on the South wall of the chancel near the priest’s door. 

The Lady Chapel also contains a piscina in it’s South wall, and near the altar is a fine modern statue of Madonna and child by Peter Eugene Ball which was sculpted from driftwood.

Over the years the Jacobean pulpit  has stood in a few different positions in the church and would have originally had a sounding board  

There are ledger-stones in the Lady Chapel floor for Sir William Argentein and his wife Margery (sadly now minus their brasses)  Very few church brasses have survived,.  Other ledger-stones can be seen at the West end of the church near the font, including one for William Carey d.1686 a benefactor of this church.

The first director of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew was Sir William Jackson Hooker 1785-1865 who had lived in Halesworth between 1809-1820. His son Sir Joseph Hooker later followed in his father’s footsteps in this capacity

Over the outside of the South porch door is a lovely old sundial with a Woodwose overhead  
This is a lovely church to visit with many more items of interest than I have been able to mention here.  
                                     The fine West door >