One of my passions is exploring country churches and churchyards.
Recently I visited the charming church of St Bartholemew at Corton – a real delight
When I drew up in the car park my first impression was that it was in need of repair, then realised it was only it's tower which was delapidated.
Originally when built St Bartholemews was a large church which became a ruin, but much has been restored and nowadays the working church is only about half of it’s original size.
I entered the church through a low door into what used to be the nave and is now…due to the new roof and restoration of this part of the building… used as a parish room. To the West of this room is a glass screen which divides the rest of the church from the ruinous tower, and to the East a stone wall separates this area from the chancel…Pieces of a stone sculptured frieze lie against the wall – this belonged in the original church.
Just through a doorway into the chancel the first thing I saw is the lovely stone sculptured Font.
and in one of the window recesses sits a wonderfully carved Gable
Cross depicting virgin and child – the last remaining one of it’s kind in Suffolk
…Most of these crosses were destroyed in the 1644 puritan destruction.
Behind the Altar is a wonderful stone carved reredos with parish war memorial plaques on either side
….and lying at the foot of the Altar are two black stone slabs with the inscriptions of the persons buried beneath them – evidently people of importance in the parish at that particular time.
As I walked round the churchyard I found many interesting tombstones. A few in particular caught my eye…
one was of a young man aged twenty one who was lost overboard and drowned while sailing down the coast in 1868
..and another was of two tombstones
standing side by side at the same grave, these were for a father in 1834 and his son 1847.. This struck me as most unusual as I could find no mention of the wife/mother anywhere in the churchyard
These other two I found very poignant, the one with the cross broken off it’s top must belong to a seaman, as I could still see the anchor and chain depicted on it, but I was unable to decipher the lettering.
Most sad of all was this lump of what looked like stone from the original church, placed on top of someone's grave – no inscription... but evidently someone cared enough to put some kind of marker to find where their loved one lay.
I was so pleased I'd found this delightful parish church on a day it was unlocked.
I suspect with severe coastal erosion it won't be with us forever.