Thursday, 23 January 2014
There has been a church in Blundeston village since the 7th century….a lovely church in a charming village.
I’ve paid a few visits here as the church has such a welcoming feel to it, and although set on the roadside, it has fields surrounding it.
…Blundeston village is the one which Charles Dickens portrayed in the opening chapters of his book ‘David Copperfield’.
Nothing remains of this original church apart from the flint tower which was built in the year 988. A small church was built and adjoined to the tower about a century later….Of this church there is only the font and the Northern doorway which remain.
A later church was erected in it’s place in the 14th century and it’s nave had fine woodwork and tracery added to it a hundred years later.
The font is Norman and originally square but was altered in the 15th century to make it the preferred octagonal shape of that time.
Hardly any complete original 14th century pews exist, but when the church was restored in the 1850s new oak pews were made and sympathetically carved poppy heads fitted to them.
The ceiling is Victorian and of timber barrel-design, which rests on 14th century corbel heads of kings and queens, thought to be those of Henry 11, Queen Matilda and King Edmund of East Anglia and his Queen.
The High Altar is less than 100years old, dating from 1928,but it stands on the base of the original C14 Altar. It has golden angels on the riddel posts.
The oak communion table was constructed in 1613
The lower rood screen is from the late C15 and has paintings of the Angels of Passion upon it
The customary holy water stoup stands by the porch door, and the coat of arms above the door is that of Charles 11.
The tower arch at the West end of the church although Norman is Saxon in style and is the oldest part of the church, - there is a squint hole in the wall alongside this arch.
Tuesday, 17 December 2013
We are at this wonderful time of year once more.
I love the lead up to Christmas with all the carol services, Nativity Plays and the Salvation Army playing carols in the town centre.
This week I went to a local church to photograph it's interior, where local schools and groups had all decorated Christmas trees to stand in the church over the festive period...it's only a small church but there must be about forty of these trees placed around the church. It's not something I've witnessed before, but it's a truly magical sight.
All my family are gathering at my son's house this year for Christmas - Family is so important. I wished everyone could be as fortunate as me......
....but I hope everyone receives God's blessing this Christmas.
My next little posting on here will be in January, so may I wish anyone who has spared the time to read my 'trials and tribulations' over the past year, a very happy, and healthy Christmas, and I hope you're able to keep any New Year resolutions you may make.
Tuesday, 19 November 2013
.…a typical tale about a poor family in the late C18th and early C19, when it was survival of the fittest, with dreadful housing conditions and work for the unskilled practically non existent.
Edward sen. was born in a tiny hamlet in Staffordshire in1750, the son of Hannah and Robert.
Shortly after he was born his mother was served with a Settlement Order to leave the Parish where she and son Edward were living…it appears his father had disappeared so Hannah had to make the humiliating journey back to the neighbouring Parish where she originally came from so she’d could ask for financial help…. not a very auspicious start to Edward’s young life.
His childhood was no different to any other boy from a poor family – nothing better than a mere existence for most of his youth. Thankfully Edward survived into adulthood which in those days and conditions was an achievement in itself.
In 1773 he married a young lady from Lichfield named Sarah and they produced seven offspring- one of whom was a son born in 1792 who they named Edward after his father. After this event nothing more is known about the parents Edward senior nor his wife Sarah
Edward Junior’s childhood wasn’t so very different from what his father’s had been – a poor family living in awful conditions.
Edward married in June 1817 to Hannah aged eighteen. Hannah wasn’t the most robust of women and after failing to bring two pregnancies to full term she at last gave birth to a healthy son (another Edward) in 1822. she sadly passed away two years later while giving birth to a stillborn baby. This meant leaving Edward to bring up his young son alone.
It was a few years later when Edward visiting the town of Walsall that he met Roseanna - who, although born in Birmingham, had moved with her parents to live in Walsall, so that her father could pursue work there in the chain making business.
Chain Making Business early C19
Edward and Roseanna married in 1829 and Edward decided to make a life for himself and new wife and son in Walsall, thinking he would have a better chance of employment there than back home in his rural village…As someone with no discernible skill this proved quite difficult, but he must have been a resourceful man as he found regular casual work to bring in a constant wage. Over the following years this meant moving addresses quite often, but despite this their growing family seemed to thrive.
Walsall early C19
In total Edward and Roseanna had a further five children.
Most of their married life was spent living on the poverty line but they appeared to be a happy loving family.
Roseanna died in 1876 in Walsall and it’s reported that Edward was already infirm at this time from arthritis…After Roseanna’s death he returned to the village where he grew up, and he died there three years later in 1879.
Edward has my admiration for he was a man who didn’t wallow in self pity. As a young man he worked hard against adversity to take care of his young family, but who sadly succumbed to illness during the latter years of his life.
..Doing family history research has made me realise how hard the poor people in those days had to fight against the odds to just simply survive.
Tuesday, 5 November 2013
With everlasting gratitude to all the men and women who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their Country....
My personal respects are to the following men who’s families I have had the privilege of researching
John Edward Goodall aged 27yrs who died on April 5th 1918 when his ship HMS Pomerania was torpedoed in the Atlantic.
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
Pvt. George.Janes 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
Tuesday, 22 October 2013
This article is about just a few of the wonderful things in this historic church which was one of Suffolk’s Anglo-Catholic shrines.
The welcoming church stands dignified beyond the lych-gate in it’s pretty churchyard, away from the noise of any traffic.
A striking exterior feature when walking round the churchyard is the unusual flint lattice work across the face of the East wall, continuing the lattice work theme in the East window….this was most likely done in the early C16.
The grave stone of the noted C20 author Adrian Bell is situated close to the Porch door. (he was the father of Martin Bell, journalist and former Independent MP)
Just inside the church are ancient medieval floor tiles – although now badly worn they must have looked splendid originally.
One of the most magical times to visit this church is either at the Spring or Autumn Equinox.
…The little C14 slit window which replaced an upper floor priest’s door in the west wall of the nave into the tower was sited off-centre. Presumably this was done for the specific purpose of the evening sun at equinox to shine directly through the West window and on through this narrow slit window to throw it's radiance onto the face of Christ hanging above the rood screen between nave and chancel…it lights up Christ’s face for just four minutes, twice a year – the only time this ever happens....
This picture was taken at the Autumn Equinox in 2009 by Charlotte Byrne.
The Rood screen
Under a carpet in the Chancel lies a wonderful ledger stone. The original stone was hit by an asteroid millions of years ago and through the centuries has reformed into multi coloured marble, from which this ledger stone is made. Sadly one small corner of the ledger stone is beginning to crumble, so steps have been taken to cover it over to prevent any more wear and tear... it would be a huge and costly undertaking to restore it. ..I felt very privileged to have the carpet turned back so that I could see and touch something so exquisite.
There is a tomb let into the wall of North wall and believed to be that of Edward Etchingham....possibly through ignorance this tomb was scrubbed clean in the early C20, thereby losing all vestiges of the ancient paintwork on it. One can see a depiction of the 'green man' carved on the tomb...this is an old fertility symbol and can be seen elsewhere in most medieval churches.
Some of the Suckling family gravestones...they were Rectors of this church through very many years
There are so many things of interest to find in this church that I’ll have to write a further article at a later date including them all. It’s certainly a church I will never tire of revisiting again and again.
Thursday, 17 October 2013
A few weeks ago I visited a delightful country church set across a meadow away from the road.
I parked my car at the same time as an elderly gentleman was unloading some tools from the boot of his. We passed the time of day and I followed him through the lych-gate and into the church, where he deposited his tools in the vestry and then came back to talk to me.
He was such an interesting man to converse with and so knowledgeable about the history of this particular church. He accompanied me around the church and pointed out every detail of particular interest… It was during this two hour personal tour that I realised the man was in fact the incumbent and had been the Rector here for almost fifty years.
Here was a man who could actually give me the answer to a question which had bugged me for years…. I asked him why some graves face West and others face East… He said that it used to be the norm for lay people to lie facing the East and the clergy to lie facing West. The thought being that the clergy would still be facing their congregation.
I don’t know if nowadays this is still thought relevant when a burial takes place
He was an amusing man and made me laugh when he said he expected his late wife to be waiting for him with rolling pin in hand when he went to join her, as he didn’t think she would want him to lie top to tail with her in their double grave.
I admit I felt guilty and apologised for taking him away from his duties, but he said he’d thoroughly enjoyed our conversation, and that his ‘jack-of-all-trades’ work could wait until another day… Although now well into his eighties he still does as much of the handy-man work in the church as he can himself – hence the bag of tools he took into the vestry.
A wonderful man whose kindness is an example to us all. I hope he keeps hale and hearty for many more years, as he’s definitely someone who will be sorely missed by his parishioners.