Saturday, 10 January 2015

A second look... Corton St Bartholemew's church.

 As those of you who are kind enough to read this blog know,  one of my passions is for researching country churches and churchyards.

A few years ago I visited the charming church of St Bartholemew at Corton – a real delight.  This has persuaded me to show again some of the churches I’ve visited over recent years (before I embark on my list of churches for this year)

                                The church of St Bartholemew, Corton.
When I drew up in the car park my first impression was that it was in need of repair, then realised it was only it's C15 tower which was in a ruinous condition.
 Originally when built St Bartholemew’s was a large church which was left to deteriorate, but much has been restored and nowadays the working church is only about half of it’s original size.

I entered the church through a low door into what used to be the nave and is now…due to the new roof and restoration of this part of the building… used as  a parish room. To the West of this room is a glass screen which divides  the church from the ruinous tower, and to the East a stone wall separates this area from the chancel…Pieces of a stone sculptured frieze lie against the wall – this belonged in the original church.

 Just through a doorway into the chancel the first thing I saw was the  fine late C14 Font.

... and in one of the window recesses sits a wonderfully carved C14 Gable Cross depicting virgin and child – the last remaining one of it’s kind in Suffolk...Most of these crosses were destroyed in the 1644 puritan church destruction.

Behind the Altar is a wonderful wide stone carved reredos from the early C20 with parish war memorial plaques on either side

 ….and lying at the foot of the Altar are two black stone slabs with the inscriptions of the persons buried beneath them – evidently people of importance in the parish at that particular time.

 As I walked round the churchyard I found many interesting tombstones. A few in particular caught my eye… was of a young man aged twenty one who was lost overboard and drowned while sailing down the coast in 1868

        ...and another of two headstones            

 standing side by side on the same grave, these were for a father d. 1834 and his son  d.1847.. This struck me as most unusual as I could find no mention of their wife/mother anywhere in the churchyard
These other two I found very poignant,  the one with the cross broken off it’s top must belong to a seaman, as I could still see the anchor and chain depicted on it, but I was unable to decipher the lettering.

Most sad of all was this lump of what looked like stone from the original church, placed on top of someone's grave – no inscription... but evidently someone cared enough to put some kind of marker  to find where their loved one lay.

I was so pleased I'd found this delightful parish church on a day it was unlocked. 
I suspect with severe coastal erosion it won't be with us forever.

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