Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Church of St Michael, Peasenhall

One has to go along a narrow lane to the church and  on the grass verge opposite the church gate there’s a poignant war memorial.

In 1860 a Mr Brooke, the local squire had an understanding with the villagers of Peasenhall, that he would rebuild the church if they would build the church wall themselves….Almost the entire church was rebuilt, apart from the C15 tower, but even that was modified by having a four foot extension added to it’s height. It looks very pleasing with it’s flushwork around it’s base.
 The fine C15 North porch escaped any rebuilding – it’s a lovely porch which has flushwork on it’s façade and  lion headstops on it’s archway and three statue niches above the entrance.
The interior of the church appears quite bland, but has a neat and comforting feel to it.

The organ is set up high at the back of the West gallery

…the font which stands below is of a sturdy C12 design.

There is an unusual brass to Joseph and Mary Lay who provided the money for purchasing a new tenor bell.

 Most of the furnishings in the church are mid C19, including the nave pews and the choir benches with their poppy head ends and tracery roundels on their backs…I feel the pulpit may be late C19 or maybe early C20

The chancel is fairly small with an arch having a biblical text around it’s arch.
The wooden reredos is painted with ecclesiastical writings including The Lord’s Prayer.

The C19 East window is strong in colour yet simple in design

In the C19 Peasenhall was a small busy industrial settlement….It was here that circa 1800 James Smyth founded his seed drill family business. He is possibly buried in Brampton churchyard., but his son James1807-1891 and daughter-in-law Mary Ann are buried in Peasenhall churchyard. There’s an imposing tombstone for Mary Ann Smyth – she was the 2nd wife of James(2nd) she died 1877 aged shows a depiction of her head on the tombstone. Two gravestones lying directly beside it have no markings that are legible, I wonder if they might be of  her husband James and his first wife.
        The old Smyth and Sons factory comes right up to the South wall of the churchyard. And there are some workers cottages across from the church’s East wall. This gives the church an enclosed feeling from those sides.  The Smyth factory closed down in 1977.

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