Monday, 15 October 2012

The Golden Church. Lound

When you first catch sight of this small country church you could be forgiven for thinking it unremarkable as there is nothing pretentious about the outside of it.
St John the Baptist  at Lound has a round Norman tower which is usually only found in Suffolk and Norfolk and was probably rebuilt up to it’s present height in the 14th century.

The original church interior appears to have been very simple, but this all changed in the early 20th century when the then Rector Booth Lynes employed Ninian Comper to beautify the church with rich furnishings.

Over the porch door there’s an inviting ‘Welcome’ sign, and  through the inner church door a Holy Water Stoup, which was the custom in these old Norman churches… but it is the Medieval font with it’s spectacular gilded cover which first greets the eye.

 The original Norman font now serves as the base for the pulpit and was replaced in the late 14th century by a traditional East Anglian perpendicular style font… Comper designed the glorious gilded steeple font cover, which was originally  suspended from a beam and had to be hoisted up and down for baptisms.


A modern wall painting of St Christopher on the North church door acts as a backdrop to this impressive font    

The organ casing which was the last of Compers restorations stands aloft in all it’s splendour in the West end of the church.

The clear windows and plainly carved pews in the nave serve to accentuate the difference between the original simple medieval church and it’s more recent elaborate restoration work.

In the West wall of the nave is an unusual 5inch circular squint hole…It was more usual to put squint holes in a chancel wall.

Turning East one is faced with the amazing rood screen, which separates the nave from the chancel, and at the south end of this screen stands the Altar of our Lady with it’s beautiful embroidered blue frontal.

Above this altar are depictions of the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Christ child, flanked by St Mary Salome and her son John the Evangelist and St Elizabeth with her son John the Baptist. The colours on this Lady Altar are so vibrant - a real delight to the eye.

The High Altar stands alone in it’s gravitas behind this spectacular rood screen.  

There is a well preserved 15th century piscina in the chancel for washing the sacred vessels and the two splendid 19th century stained glass windows are the work of Henry Holiday

Much was lost during the reformation and the old stone altar was replaced by a 17th C communion table, and a new Jacobean pulpit was added.

All the gilding in the church was restored in 2006 and it’s vibrancy gives a sense of richness to the interior of the building. It is little wonder that this church has the nickname of *the golden church*.

The main thing of note on the exterior of the church is a beautifully carved depiction of the Crucifixion designed again by Comper in 1920.  This is on the south wall and acts as the village war memorial.

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