Thursday, 29 August 2013

Rising damp...Blyford Church

                                    All Saints Church Blyford

This little church set on the corner of a village road junction in Suffolk proved perplexing to me. It has Norman origins with it’s doorways typical of that era, but the church has been vastly restored with most of the outer walls coated, probably in the C19th…the damp seems to be rising up these walls and some of the coating is peeling off which is not very pleasing to the eye.
The church porch added in the C15 has walls which taper inwards toward the bottom. I have seen this type of thing before, but this is very obvious.

On entering the church via the C15th North porch and through the Norman doorway, the first thing I noticed was the overpowering odour of dampness....the three steps down into the Nave have green staining around them and even the church literature felt damp to the touch. My instant thought was to wonder if this church had ever been flooded, or if  water is seeping up through the foundations – it is fairly close to a river.
...I couldn't remain in the unpleasant oppressive atmosphere for long as it was making me feel nauseous ... It was vastly different to the warm fresh Summer air outside.

holy water stoup

               stave locker

 Inside the church it is light and seems to be well loved and cared for. There are a few things worthy of particular note.  It was unusual to find a ‘banner stave locker’ at the West end of the North wall, these have usually been blocked up.

There’s a C13th Font of octagonal design at the West end of the church. I imagine this looked quite wonderful in it’s hey-day, but sadly it’s panel carvings have deteriorated badly over the years.

The pulpit I believe to be Victorian, possibly added to the church during the C19th restoration.

An interesting plaque on the North wall, commemorates Edmund Freeman aged 19 who was killed serving at sea off Guadaloupe in 1809 - I assume he must have been a young man from this local area.….Also there’s a poignant Flanders Cross in the church which belonged to Captain W.E. Day who was killed in action in Flanders in June 1916.
Walking round the outside of the church I saw traces of a scratch dial near the South Norman door.

...and near the North porch entrance is an unusual tomb, it looks like a tomb on top of a tomb.

There was an unsettling air about the inside of this church, and my dogs who normally settle down when entering a church seemed very edgy. ...Could it have been because of the strong pervading damp odour, or was there some other reason which they sensed and I didn’t???!

 After leaving All Saints I visited another church close by and the dogs were fine and contented to lie on it’s Nave floor while I explored – so nothing odd in that church!
 I received the impression that they are trying to save All Saints church from more deterioration..I hope they succeed before it’s too late.


  1. I hope they succeed with saving it from further deterioration before it's too late and perhaps get somebody in to exorcise the church and grounds! A great post, as always. xx

  2. How sad to find a church in use, which is deteriorating so fast! The trouble with all old churches is the cost of maintenance & whether the size of congregation makes it worthwhile.
    How strange, that the dogs were so unsettled - very unnnerving.
    Wonderful post.

  3. Thank you both for your kind comments. I've taken dogs inside hundreds of churches and this was the first negative reaction I've ever had from them...makes you wonder, doesn't it!?!