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Saturday, 21 May 2016

St Peter's church, Gunton

An attractive church standing at the end of a cul-de-sac and close to nearby woods.  It probably originates from Saxon times. It has a diminutive round tower which has been restored in recent years.  A complete restoration of St Peter’s took place in 1899 with a vestry added on to the North side of the church in 1903
The church has a very fine North Norman doorway with a carved chevron design

There are two nice lancet windows in the church – a Norman one in the nave and a C13 one in the chancel 

The C16 South porch shields another Norman doorway, again with a chevron design - the right hand jamb of this doorway is cut away to house a holy water stoup (now holds a vase of flowers)

A single barrel ceiling stretches the length of the church as there’s now no chancel arch or rood screen to divide the chancel from the nave…although evidence remains on the wall where the arch would have been. 
 There is a door curtain hanging at the East end of the North wall of the nave which hides a stairway which would have led up to a rood loft

                  I like the carved eagle lectern

On the nave walls are candle holders which look as if they are used occasionally

There is a simple font which is now used for baptisms while an old font stands in the porch

The clear glass in the church windows are unusually striated.  The only window to have stained glass is the East window where four 1960 panels depict Christ,...The sower...The reaper.. and the fishermen

The piscina and dropped-sill sedilia in the chancel are simple in style

There is a memorial tablet on the South wall of the chancel for Isabella Steward who died in 1867. She knew her death was imminent so composed her own epitaph, which her husband added on to her memorial tablet. His own memorial tablet by comparison is very stark

                                                                             Other wall memorials include one for Charles Boyce, plus a ledger-stone for him and his wife. 

A sad memorial stone let into the nave aisle floor      

There are some poignant gravestones in the churchyard...a very nice one for a ten year old girl and a more recent one by the porch door

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

St Botolph's church, North Cove, Suffolk

It’s a pleasant short drive which leads from off the main road to the church  of St Botolph, it could easily be missed unless you were looking for it, as it’s only close neighbour is a charming old public house..
This church is usually kept locked, (although there is a notice in the porch of a key holder ). I intentionally visited on one of the three days of the annual Flower Festival which is held here.

 There were numerous floral arrangements on display throughout the church, their artistry a pleasure to witness.

The 14 South porch protects a lovely Norman doorway which has a scratch dial still visible on one of the arch uprights

The C15 font standing just through the South door entrance looks rather large to be in this narrow church, perhaps this is emphasised by the organ standing directly behind it….the organ was played softly throughout my visit here, providing a gentle aura of calmness.
In the nave is a nice selection of wooden head corbels on the wall posts.  
   The C17 text Roundels around the church walls were only uncovered in 1937…these were new to me as I’ve not seen any like them elsewhere

The Hatchment hanging on the North wall I believe belongs to Thomas Farr who died in 1850
It appears that all the church furnishings including the chancel screen are from the C19 (there is no chancel arch)
There are grave footstones laid in the nave aisle, also some interesting ledger stones.

The chancel is jaw dropping in it’s beauty. The walls are awash with fantastic medieval paintings

…and the C19 stained glass in the East window is especially lovely.

This small church has a comparatively large graveyard with some of the large tombstones now completely covered by encroaching ivy – with the tombstones protected by iron railings it was too difficult to get close enough read the names on most them.                

This is a charming. little country church to visit - a 'must see' for anyone interested in Medieval wall art.

Drive way up to the church gate

Thursday, 28 April 2016

St Mary's Church, Burgh St Peter

 This little church is reached down a seemingly never ending country lane, near the marshes and close to the river Waveney, about a mile from the village.
I was surprised to find the church is dedicated to St Mary and not to St Peter..
            My first sight of the church caused me some amazement because of it’s was not what I was expecting to see. It resembles a Middle Eastern folly rather than the more traditional church tower I am used to.. It was erected in stages at different times in the C18/C19 in the manner of  children’s building bricks, tapering toward the top..

 I was intrigued……
            …On researching more about the church, it appears a family by the name of Boycott were wealthy landowners in the area from the early 1700’s and were rectors and patrons of  St Mary’s then, and for the following two hundred years... It was Samuel Boycott who was rector here from 1764-1795 who in 1793 began the building of this diminishing four stage construction, on top of an early C16 flint and patterned brick base… This first stage was to become the family vault for many subsequent Boycott family members. The rest of the tower is thought to be in the style of a church that Samuel’s son John saw when abroad on his ‘Grand Tour’.
The second stage is now used as a vestry, but the higher stages are unused…
Sadly to my eye it looks rather incongruous butted up against a medieval nave and chancel.

The interior of the church although simple, is very pleasing to the eye.
The font has an octagonal bowl and dates from around the early C16

The early C19 pulpit is unusual as it is covered in memorial plaques  to the Boycott Rectors and other family members – something I’ve not seen in any other church.

Behind the pulpit part of the old Rood Screen stairs are still in evidence, but the present Rood Screen is comparatively modern, having been erected as a memorial to the Rev. Leeding, who was Rector here in the early C20.

                    On the south wall of the chancel the C14 piscina and sedilla remain in situ.

The south porch originally built in the C15 was later heightened, and the C13 South and North church doors have undergone much restoration work over the centuries.

The interior of St Mary's


the reredos >>


There is a fine scratch/mass dial on the outside wall

Just beyond the East window in the churchyard lies the grave of Charles Cunningham Boycott (1832-1897)…** it was his involvement in the Irish troubles in the mid C19 that resulted in the word ‘boycott’ being introduced into the English language..(source..’The Brief History of St Mary’s Church’                               
                                                The graves of some of the Boycott family
This stone is situated by the West tower

After leaving the church and driving back toward the village, I stopped to take a look back to where the church was just visible standing alone in splendid isolation.
It made me wonder what this area would be like on a damp day when the surrounding marshes encompass the church and it's graveyard in a swirling mist....maybe a little unnerving.

Saturday, 16 April 2016

St Andrew's church, Wissett

This charming church has been a place of worship for almost a thousand years. It was in a ruinous state by the early C19 and was restored and brought back to life by the Hartopp family who were local Lords of the Manor at that time.

The C15 south porch has it’s original roof and shelters the C12 Norman South doorway which has amusing smiling faces carved around it’s arch.

Scratch dials are evident on both sides of the doorway uprights

.A holy water stoup is inside the church by the South door, .

A pleasing font-possibly C15- is at the West end of the church, it has angels carrying shields on it’s bowl and woodwoses (wild men) and lions around it’s stem

At the base of the West tower is a Tudor door which leads up to the belfry, and either side of the tower arch hangs Decalogue panels. 

A coat of Arms for George 111 hangs on the West end of the South wall

I was curious about the odd stone on which the old bier now appears a heating appliance once stood here and was used to warm the church for Sunday services.  

There used to be box pews in the nave but these were replaced by bench seats in the early C20 – most of these bench ends have old -  although a few of them have more recent poppy-head ends to them..

The C15 nave windows are perpendicular in style and were installed at the time the nave was enlarged…three of the windows contain fragments of medieval glass

At the East end of the nave clues remain which tell us that in medieval times another altar and piscina stood here, and on the North wall opposite is a doorway which led up some stone stairs to the rood loft, so evidently a rood screen used to be here, which would have separated the chancel from the nave….Strangely the rood loft door is set higher from the floor than usually found, maybe this has something to do with the height of the church floor level at various times through the centuries.

 The C15 chancel arch pillars have old graffiti scratched on them.   >>

Since 1973 the rood in this church has been represented by a large hanging straw cross, which certainly looks in keeping with a church set amidst an agricultural community

In the chancel floor is a surviving brass for Elizabeth Blomfield who died in 1638 aged 19 years.

In 2009 a polishing stone and a ladies C16 shoe were found during the restoration work on the 60’ high tower ….A long held story says that concealing a shoe in a church wards off evil spirits and brings good fortune to all who worship there. .
The pulpit and priest’s desk are C17 and probably started out as a double decker pulpit.
     In 1968 the church was flooded to about two feet deep, as can be seen by the tide mark on some of the pew ends

There is an Angel carved on each of the wooden  finials which surround the Altar >>

My favourite item in this church is the modern statue of St Andrew sculptured in 2006 by
Peter Eugene Ball. It stands in a large niche near a window by the chancel arch. This eye catching statue is a beautiful and meaningful depiction of St Andrew the fisherman

Set into the nave aisle floor is a diamond shaped tablet for the two tiny babies of the Rev Edward Cornish Wells who both died when aged four months of age

Two of the tombstones in the graveyard have a spikes on their lids, this was protection against grave robbers.

This is a well loved and cared for church which reaches out in welcome to all who visit here.