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Saturday, 22 April 2017

Thwaite..the Church of St Mary

I drove past this church a few years ago but was unable to stop to explore so I was determined to make a return visit to look inside…at long last I finally made it, and wasn’t disappointed in what I found here. The nave has a pretty thatched roof  (in which a Blue Tit had built a nest) and stands within a small well maintained churchyard.

It was rather odd to find that this rendered church has no windows at all on its North side. Entry is through a glorious Norman South doorway, which is surprisingly still in good condition with only a small amount of excellent repair work having taken place as it has no porch to protect it from the elements

Well defined scratch dials can be found on the West jamb of the door arch

The tower is C14 and has three small plain shields above a brick niche on it’s West wall…I’ve no idea of the significance of these as usually we find they have crests or some other identification on them.

The brick chancel was added on to the nave in 1737 and has a tiled roof. 

The interior of the church is very pleasant. The C18 rood screen is in the C18 Gothick style with trefoil arches

The C15 font is a puzzle as it has the familiar octagonal stem but supports a completely plain bowl. I wonder if this bowl originally came from some other church 

A tiny Regency organ nestles in the chancel, and resting on a nearby table is a 1877 bible.

 All the glass in the windows are plain as a result of an exploding WW2 bomb which shattered the previous ones.  The chancel ceiling of St Mary’s church is painted pale blue…I wonder if this is because that colour is associated with the Virgin Mary.
On the chancel North wall is a memorial tablet for Rev Richard Dreyer d. 1838 and his wife Eliza d. 1849
In the nave  three family tablets line the North wall – Richard Reeve MD is flanked by one for his son Richard Dreyer Reeve d.1834 aged 19, and one for his daughter Susan Catherine Reeve who died in 1821 aged 12 years. There’s no mention of the wife and mother

In the churchyard there is an isolated adult grave and two children’s graves in a line alongside the North wall, sadly I couldn’t read who these were for nor why they were situated in this position, but I think there must be a connection between them 

This is only a small graveyard but it is beautifully kept.

Monday, 17 April 2017

Holy Trinity, Gisleham

Last Good Friday I revisited this delightful church which is situated on the corner of a narrow road but stands well back from the road.
It’s round tower base is early Norman with an octagonal top added in the late C14
The wide C14 South Door is unusual as it is hinged down through it’s middle, making it possible to have only one side of it open if required. The door is protected by a large contemporary porch

Above the porch entrance is a niche which once held a statue, this is flanked by two damaged carved angels, and has shields carved across it’s parapet..
The porch has what appears to be heraldic reliefs carved around it’s arch and finished off with lion head stops
There is evidence of a weathered scratch dial on the buttress near the porch

A holy water stoup is let into the wall next to the church door.

The furnishings inside the church appear to be mainly Victorian, It’s white plastered barrel ceiling makes the church  light and airy. 

On the North wall of the nave are two lovely C14 windows with decorated tracery, and on their Eastern jambs are striking wall paintings - thought possibly to be of St Ursula and St Dorothy

In the mid C19 when the North porch was removed, the C12 North doorway was bricked up and a C19 window added above where it had stood.

The C14 chancel Arch has been removed with only part of it’s supports left in situ..

In the chancel is a C14 piscina and sedilia – an early C13 priest's coffin slab with a large cross on it acts as the seat of the sedilia.

Facing West inside the church one can view the two Decalogue boards hanging either side of the blocked up tower doorway…

A late C14 font with it’s decorated panels 
stands just below.

The pulpit and choir stalls are from the early C20, but some of the nave pews must be earlier as there is late C19 graffiti etched on the backs of some of the pews…I suspect this was probably done by children who grew restless having to sit through the long sermons.
                                                  On this Easter visit I found a lovely wooden cross standing in front of the altar and East window, which also poignantly displays the crucifixion of Christ.

 Whenever I revisit a church I always find something I've overlooked previously and yet there's always the pleasure of seeing the constant...

The graveyard here is a credit to the people who tend it.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

St Peter & St Paul church, Kelsale, Suffolk

This is a lovely church which has gone through two huge C19 restorations.  It set in a serene position in a quiet village.  The first thing which catches the eye is it’s most unusual C19 lych-gate which leads parishioners through an avenue of lime trees up to the south porch

The oak door into the church still retains it’s huge iron knocker.
-  also there’s a smattering of early graffiti around the door arch

Hanging from the porch roof is an large old converted gasolier

There's a small bright belfry to the West as
you enter the church.

- beyond this stands the sturdy low C15 font which has an interesting charity board on either side. with hatchments hanging above.

Below the large five-light West window stands a beautiful septych, this was meant to be the reredos to stand behind the altar at the East end of the chancel, but it covered too much of the East  window so was removed from there to it’s present position.

  A striking statue of Samuel Clouting who died July 1852 is let into the SW wall of the nave – he appears to have been a very philanthropic man.

There’s a beautiful C19 wrought iron screen with bronze figures which divides the chancel from the nave.

The nave contains a Jacobean carved pulpit which stands near the rood screen door.

Some nice stained glass adorns the church windows and a special one by William Morris is in the North wall of the chancel…this was added by Rev Irving Davies and his wife in memory of their daughter Georgina Mary Paulina who was born in Jerusalem in May 1850 but died August 1875>>

The South aisle was the the original church and now contains memorials to the C17 & C18 Russel families

Above the South door is a plaque dedicated toLancelot Brown, a rector here for 58 years…he was the grandson of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown the famed landscape gardener

There are many wall plaques and memorials of interest here

                                                                                                                                    Church interior
The fine North Norman doorway is thought to have been the original South entrance doorway  before being moved during one of the restorations…the Priest’s door in the South wall is it's contemporary                                                        priests' door >>

In the enormous graveyard are some headstones of particular interest –including an early C20 one of Sir Harry Courthope Munroe and his wife Dame Ellen which has their family crest depicted upon it.

                 Kelsale graveyard

Saturday, 1 April 2017

St Peter & St Paul Wangford

This is a big church both inside and out and stands on the spot where people have worshipped for more than 800 years. I last visited here in 2016.  The present church is part of the old priory church which belonged to a Cluniac Monastery which was founded in 1160, The priory, having fallen on hard times closed in 1528, and sadly there in nothing now left of the original church
Most unusually the C19 tower was built at the East end of the North aisle – there has never been a West tower for this church.
The only remaining parts of the medieval church which remained before the mid C19  restoration were the nave, north aisle and porch.
The South side of the church had been attached to the North wall of the cloister walkway of the priory – the restored medieval flying buttresses still abutt the church wall of the nave.

I was a bit taken aback on entering the church via the North porch to see the plaster on the nave walls in such poor condition…I hope the church can find the finance to restore this to it’s original condition..
The interior is a big open space. Off the nave is the North aisle, now called The Lady Chapel.
The C16 pulpit which appears to have a Flemish influence, used to be two tiered but now one of the tiers acts as a reading desk, and stands on the opposite side of the nave to the pulpit. The pulpit in it’s originally state would have had a sounding board at the top.

The box pews were replaced by bench seating in the C19 restoration

An elaborate 1883 brass lectern and C15 font stand in the nave

There are splendid decorative stone corbel heads on the ends of the roof supports in the nave.

The chancel is bright and spacious, with a fine stone reredos as a  backdrop to the altar …The vestry and chancel were added to the church in 1875 to complete the church as we now see it,

A good C19 piscina and sedilia are also in the chancel

The Earls of Stradbroke (Rouse family) have lead the worship in this church since 1612….

There are many memorials in the church especially to the Rouse family from the last 400 years

                 IVth Earl of Stradbroke >>

                                                                There is so much of interest in this church, but I can only mention just a fraction in this particular post…more to follow when I intend to visit this church again next year,