Tuesday, 1 October 2013

St Edmunds, Fritton

This is a charming early medieval reed thatched church, which until boundary changes in 1974 resided in Suffolk, but now Norfolk boasts it belongs to them.

…It’s in a delightful setting down a lane near Fritton Lake.

I think a wedding must have taken place a few days prior to my visit, as the church was awash with beautiful Summer flowers.

As with many East Anglian churches St Edmunds has a round tower which is of  Saxon origin with the Norman Apse built in the C11 and the Chancel and Nave added in the C13 …The width of the church Nave being extended by approx. 11 feet Southwards in the C14, this gives the inside of the church a lop-sided look, as the chancel is now on the North side of the nave instead of in the middle of the church as originally intended.
I am not always enamoured by some restoration work done in medieval churches, but this is an exception, as the restoration work here was so sympathetically done, and gives us an insight to how the church interior would have looked centuries ago with all it’s vibrant wall painting.

One has to step down from the nave into the tiny chancel, which is wonderfully restored and seemed a magical place to enter. The East window of this Norman Apsidal chancel is really three small  slit windows…the depth of these window recesses demonstrates how thick the walls of the original church was. 
The red scroll wall painting around the entire East window probably dates from C12…
Two other stained glass windows are on either side of the chancel, where the workmen have left us a view of the ceiling above, showing some of the restoration work which has been undertaken.
A small set of medieval choir stalls fit neatly into the chancel near the C13 piscina.

The original rood screen -now restored-  dates from the middle C14 and is a wonderful doorway into this medieval chancel.

In the Nave a C17 three decker pulpit complete with clerk’s desk and reading desk stand unusually alongside each other. This stands where I think the original Altar must have stood before the nave was widened, as there’s piscina close by. Two large medieval wall paintings were uncovered during the restoration of the church.... one of St Christopher and the other of St John the Baptist.

C19 Font built in the Norman style

This is a delightful church which has survived through the turmoil of the last one thousand years, and hopefully will remain for a very long time in the future.

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