Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Church of St Edmund King and Martyr, Southwold

No superlatives I use can do justice to this wonderful church which is situated in the middle of the town.
I think I should start with it's grand two-storey South porch, which was the last part of the church to be built.

It has chequerboard work on it's East and West walls, and over the porch door is a niche which holds a statuette of St Edmund.

The North doorway is just as impressive, without a porch.

The interior of this large church is breathtaking.

The medieval font at the West end of the nave is of the seven sacrament design , and has a magnificent C20 cover.

At the back of the nave is the statue of "Southwold Jack" which originally used to have a clock mechanism, and Jack would strike a bell every quarter of the hour...Although the clock workings have long disappeared, the statue still comes to life at the beginning of services by bringing his sword down to strike a bell. There is a similar statue in nearby Blithburgh church.

The interior of the church is magnificent. I love all the clerestory windows.

The C15 rood screen is truly splendid, it stretches right across the full width of the church. On close inspection I wondered if  it's panels had been painted by more than one person, as the quality of the gessowork differs on  them.

Much of the later restoration to this church happened in the early C20 which included making the pulpit and lectern rather too extravagant for my particular taste, but no doubt there are many people who enjoy this lavish style.

The chancel has a gloriously painted blue spangled ceiling with surrounding angels

The stained glass East window and reredos, are a joy to behold

...and there's a medieval sedilia and piscina set into the chancel South wall.

A very fine ceremonial cross which was a gift from Emporer Haile Selassie stands by the steps up to the altar.

I noticed a lot of C16 graffiti on the ancient benches in the chancel.
The old misericorde stalls are superb with lovely head carvings on each of the armrests...and I really liked the priests chair and desk

The organ standing up high is very ornate, it has angels, some blowing trumpets and others holding shields on it's facade - this was installed in the chancel in 1889

There's a calm serene atmosphere in the Lady Chapel, where it has been suggested the bosses overhead may represent Mary Tudor and her 2nd husband Charles Brandon, Earl of Suffolk. but no-one has found proof of this.

There is so much to see in this glorious welcoming house of God, that a repeat visit will be necessary. ...The churchyard alone is worth a second visit.

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