Tuesday, 9 October 2012

This church is perplexing...Kessingland

On approaching St Edmund's church from a Westerly direction it looks like many other late medieval churches, with it’s wonderful 15th century door and arched doorway with a Tudor Rose, Bishop’s Mitre and
Shields-among other designs carved around it.

So it was a real shock on walking round it’s lovely churchyard to find so many different styles of building, The church must have been wider when originally built as there are ruined remains of a wall adjacent to the South side of the nave – this is  now almost covered by encroaching ivy. The flint and stone South wall of the nave and it’s porch were either restored or renovated in the 16th century as there is a date and initials (1578 RB) 
etched into one of the stones above the porch door.

                          medieval wall ruins    
                                                                           Following the path round to the East side of the church I was amazed to find the Chancel had only been built in 1908…this was sympathetically done in flint and stone, similar to the South side of the nave but is evidently smaller than the original chancel as I found more of the medieval church wall beyond the East wall.
 I think my biggest shock was turning the corner to walk along the North side of the church  and finding this whole nave wall had been built in red brick which dates from 1694!

Even the tower was constructed at two different times. It was started in 1437 but alas the architect died in 1440 after only completing 35 feet, and it was  nine years before another mason was found who’d finish building the tower to it’s final height of 98 feet – hence the Tower’s two different styles.                  
The roof itself is partly thatch and partly slate.

The interior of the church has mainly modern 20century furnishings, 
with the main exception of one of the finest15th century octagonal fonts
seen in Suffolk. It shows carvings of - among others, St Edmund and his wife Queen Isabella 
The19th century  stained glass East window
 has the same figures depicted on it as on the font

One of the other lovely stained glass windows on the south side of the nave, was put in situ as recently as 2007 and is dedicated to the memory of  a parishoner’s wife and the Drifter men of Kessingland.

The coat of arms of George 11 (1727-1760) hangs over the South porch door and was painted by W Cartwright in 1741

19th century Seaman's gravestone

The lovely churchyard is under the guardianship of two cats which have lived there for many years – a local lady takes them food each day.
                                     War Memorial in the churchyard

I found this church to be a delightful enigma. 

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