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Sunday, 5 July 2015

Carleton St Peter...St Peter's church

The day I visited this church I was taken back in time. St Peter's stands isolated in the middle of a field, with no access road.....To visit the church one has to park in the narrow road and walk across a wide grass path between growing crops to reach it. ~ As there's now only a handful of families living in the parish, the church remains open by holding only the occasional these times, or if a rare burial etc. takes place, the farmer opens a five barred gate to allow cars to drive across the field to park outside of the church wall.

Entrance is by the medieval South porch door which retains it's original ironwork. 
The outer porch doorway has a coat of arms on either side of the door - one is the cross of St George and the other is the crossed keys for St Peter

The interior of the church contains an air of remoteness, with it's simplicity

This church was restored in the C19 and during that time a recess was found in the North wall of the chancel. It is believed it originally held the tomb of the church founder...on the rear wall of the recess is a faded inscription from the 1557 Geneva version of the new testament.

I liked the C14 oak rood screen which divided the chancel from the was nicely restored in the C19

The C19 organ case is unusual, it has angels playing musical instruments painted on it's face 

..and the relatively modern square font stands in front of it.

On the North wall of the chancel is a poignant slate plaque for the five children of Rev. Sallett who was the former rector of this church 1667-1699 

A badly deteriorated medieval painting adorns a nave wall 

 It was lovely to find a C12 slit window

As one would expect from such a tiny parish, there are not many graves in the churchyard, and those that are there appear to be for 18th and 19th  century members of just a few families
To commemorate the new millennium a yew tree was planted in the churchyard on January 1st 2000

I have to say there's nothing outstandingly special about this flint and rubble built church, but it's always open to welcome visitors into it's fold.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Heckingham...the Church of St Gregory

This early medieval thatched roof church is contemporary with it’s more well known neighbour St Margaret’s in Hales.
This plain and a simple church is now redundant and under the care of the Church Conservation Trust…..It is one of the best examples of a Norman country church in East Anglia. .Set down a narrow secluded stony lane, it could very easily be passed by without anyone noticing it. It stands aloof and proud on a small hillock, above it’s makeshift car parking area.
The tower which began as round was later heightened into an octagonal style.
 On the South side of the church it boasts a fine Norman doorway, It’s carving is breath-taking!..It has very fine elaborate patterned carvings and the four shafts on either side have decorated capitals…It almost overpowers the inside of the small C15 porch.

The blocked up Norman door on the North side of the church is extremely plain by comparison.

The nave with it’s steep arch braced roof exudes a feeling of tranquillity,  and this church has one of the few remaining early medieval apsidal chancels. The shape of these chancels went out of fashion quite quickly when the straight sided walled chancels came into favour.

The sturdy square Norman font is supported on a central stem and four corner shafts.

We can still see the recess in the SE orner of the nave where stairs to the rood screen used to be.

A stained glass window adorns the central East window, and there are some lovely lancet windows...these all looked delightful with the sun streaming through into the church.

I found two interesting ledger stones, to  Mary Crow d.1666 and Mary Crowe d 1659 both daughters of John and Elizabeth Crowe…it was quite usual for parents in those days to name a subsequent child after one that had previously died. (notice the letter *e* has been missed from the surname on one of the stones).
 Stones to other C17 members of the Crowe family can also be found inside the church

I was surprised not to find any early wall paintings, I was expecting to see inner walls similar to the ones in the neighbouring church of St Margaret in Hales.

On the day I visited this church it was disappointing to find the graveyard so massively overgrown, some of the vegetation was shoulder high in places and too difficult to walk round. I do hope someone tends to it soon.

 The church itself is charming with much of interest to encourage me to make a return visit in the future...I hope by then I find the graveyard somewhat tidier.

Thursday, 25 June 2015

St Peter's Church, Yoxford

By 1837 Yoxford was a becoming a prosperous town and was a coaching stop on the London to Gt.Yarmouth road. The church was extended to cater for the increasing population.
            The oldest part of the church is the South aisle built in 1499, it’s perpendicular windows have lovely tracery, sadly one of it’s windows was walled up in 1837 when a new North door and aisle were added. The spire was added to the top of the tower in the C17.

St Peter’s has a very definite Victorian feel to it’s interior, as it was greatly restored in  1868…more restoration took place in the 1920s.

Entry to the church is through the North door. The arcading between the aisles makes the church look larger than it actually is...In the North Aisle there are tablets for the Betts and the Davy families.There's also a large marble tablet for the Clayton family.

 In fact this church is full of memorials of some kind or another for the various important families who resided in the parish over the centuries.
In the C16 South aisle chapel (called the Cockfield chapel) is a marble plaque for Dudley George Blois who was killed in action in 1916 at the Battle of the Somme.
A brass plaque with the Rolls of Honour for WW1 and a wooden framed plaque with the names of the men who fell during WW2 are also displayed in the church.
The octagonal font from 1518 is still rather beautiful even though the angels have been defaced – this most probably happened during the puritan uprising.

It’s a pity the lovely early C17 pulpit is minus it’s sounding board.

The East window in the chancel is in the decorated style, it’s three panes of stained glass depicting the Crowning of Christ, St George and St Edmund, king and martyr

Attached to the side walls of the Sanctuary are brass effigies of John Norwich (d.1428) and his wife Maud (d.1418) There’s also effigies of Thomasine Tendring and her seven children – five of them are wrapped in a shroud, meaning they pre-deceased their mother…these brasses were taken from their ledgerstones.

In the nave of the South aisle there’s a cinquefoil headed piscina dating from c1500, this was discovered in 1868 at the time of the big restoration of the church. Wall plaques for members of the Blois family surround it.

Apart from the many wall memorials and brasses, there are a lot of hatchments attached to the church walls…The five around the tower arch are all for members of the Blois family. The oldest hatchment in the church is over the North door and belongs to Thomas Mann (d.1669)

Some interesting headstones in the churchyard worth noticing include an altar tomb for John Ingham (d.1712) and his wife (d.1715) and one for Charles Dalby (d.1849)
Most of the headstones in the churchyard are from C18-C19 as the churchyard has been closed to new burials for over a hundred years

The main thing which will remain in my mind about this church is it’s huge amount of brasses, wall memorials and hatchments..I’ve never seen so many in one country church.. This may be due to the parish over the years having not one but three large manor houses.


Sunday, 14 June 2015

St Margaret & St Remigius, Seething

Oh dear, another locked Norfolk church….Thankfully an elderly man lived close by who happily gave us the large heavy key with the cautionary words that it would require inserting “bottom side up” into the keyhole to make it turn….easily negotiated!
Upon descending through the late medieval door into the nave we were greeted by a magnificent array of C14 medieval wall paintings all round the church. These included a large one of St Christopher which faces the South door, and another which I think may be John the Baptist on the wall over the pulpit. 

There are also pictures among others which represent the Resurrection and the Ascension.        I was in awe at seeing such fine surviving medieval wall art...This church is a must for anyone who has an interest in early art.

There’s a seven sacrament font here which dates from 1485. I’ve seen quite a few of this type in churches spread over East Anglia.

The Norman arch between nave and tower is large, and a rood stairway with faint traces of paint still on the doorjambs is settled in the SE corner of the nave

 The dado panels of the C15 rood screen are decorated with gessowork…but I think the upper screen maybe C19

<< church interior

The chancel is quite plain but has a nice atmosphere. It contains a cusped piscina and a drop-sill sedilia from the early medieval era


 The pleasant East window is C19 >>

There are other delightful windows throughout the church from the C13 lancet to the C14 and C15 ones.

In the churchyard there’s a touching tribute in the form of a headstone to the memory of the 448Bomb Squadron, 8th United states Air force

 I thought this churchyard would have been larger, but parts of it are now designated as Wildlife Conservation areas, which is lovely.
I’ve noticed on my travels lately that a good many churches nowadays have adopted the same idea.