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Tuesday, 22 April 2014

St Mary, Ditchingham

This beautiful country church with it’s 100’ tower is set well away from the village, and bears silent witness to the Christian faith.
The present church was begun in 1479 with the North aisle added on in 1873.

The West doorway has a canopied niche on either side which hold large carved statues..these are basically original but have been sympathetically repaired .

The C15 South door has a small niche over it’s porch door holding a small statue of the Virgin....




   ….This South medieval door is the main entrance to the church, and  has    fine tracery.



On entering the church the first thing one sees is a massive black marble memorial to the fallen in the 1914/18 Great War.  This has a life size bronze statue of a soldier lying at it’s base, and is the work of Derwent Wood.

…Probably because of the sombre nature of this huge black memorial this   end of the church appears quite dark.
 



The Tudor font has eight columns of support around it’s stem




There are many mementos of the Ryder-Haggard family in the church (Sir Henry Ryder-Haggard was the author of ‘King Soloman’s Mines, among other adventure books) It was he who restored the South porch of this church in 1896….and he and his wife who donated the clock to the church in 1892 - in memory of their son Jack who sadly died from measles aged ten.
Most of the previous restoration to the church was in 1847 when the box pews were replaced by benches and a new pulpit and lectern were installed.

 The chancel ceiling is brightly painted and is the work of Mrs Scudamore, the vicar’s wife c1862…a  painstaking labour of love.






She was also responsible for the lovely paintwork on the reredos




The Altar is thought to be C17




The Rood screen is basically medieval, although beautifully restored in 1926







All the windows in the chancel are unusual and cheerfully coloured, with a predominance of gold... These have special dedications. One of the windows is in memory of Sir Henry Ryder-Haggard, given by his daughter after his death in 1925. (I believe his ashes are interred at Ditchingham)





A few large early tombstones are in the churchyard, unfortunately through the passage of time the wording on them has become undecipherable.



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