Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Bramfield Church

Bramfield Church

St Andrew’s church is situated in the village and turned out to be a surprise when I drew up outside the church walls.…I wasn’t expecting to see the tower separated a good few feet from the West end of the church.
It is the only detached round tower in Suffolk

The C12 tower was built originally as a stronghold.
 The church which we see today was erected in the thirteen hundreds…but most probably a very humble church stood on this site before that.
It is thought likely the church wasn’t built next to the tower as the condition of the ground next to it was too unstable to take it's weight – the same thing happened at Beccles with it’s square tower and church.

The church roof is thatched and the windows in the Chancel have fine tracery on them.

The church is fortunate to have many exterior head-stops still surviving.

The lovely Nave windows appear to my amateur eye to be beautifully cut and probably date from the mid C19

There is the remains of a C15 wall painting on the North wall, now barely discernible.

The early C16 Rood screen is still very imposing - I believe hardly any restoration has been done to it. Obviously the original vibrant paintwork is wearing away, but this seems to add to the charm of it’s authenticity.

The lace like carving on it’s canopy is wonderfully carved. On the screen panels are depictions of some of the saints, including Ss Mark, Matthew, Luke and John, plus that of Mary Magdeline.

In the Chancel there is a striking memorial for Arthur Coke and his wife Elizabeth -  Elizabeth died in childbirth in 1627 and Arthur died two years later. The memorial shows a fine life size alabaster effigy of Elizabeth lying on top of a chest tomb, holding her baby. Her husband is in a praying position on a wall monument directly above.

Many of the ledger slabs and hatchments in the church belong to the Rabett family who had a long history with the village and church. The family resided at Bramfield Hall for about 400yrs

There’s one gravestone in the churchyard which is of particular interest. It’s not an official war grave stone, but it’s for Sgt Tom Smith who gave his life during WW2…The bit that puzzles me is a line at the very bottom of the stone which has just the words, *and for Arthur 1925*  (I wonder who Arthur was?) It's almost as if poor man  was an after thought.

This is a church I definitely wish to revisit in the future, there's so much to see which I didn't have time for on this particular day.

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