Saturday, 5 December 2015

St Mary the Virgin, Aldeby

 …originally this was a priory church.
The peaceful parish of Aldeby reminds me of an outpost almost lost in time, surrounded by water on three sides – the river Waveney and the North Sea.. It’s difficult to imagine what this place must have looked like a thousand years ago when the area was a populous place.

The C12 church began life for an order of Benedictine monks., their abbey which was adjacent to the church was dissolved in 1538 and left to become ruinous. A farm now stands in what was the abbey grounds, with few signs of the abbey which went before
This priory church was also used by the public as well as the monks between 1100-1538 – the public enjoyed the use of the nave while the monks monopolised the chancel.
Standing at the West end of the church and looking East through the lovely transept arches to the East window gives the impression of extra height and length to the church, especially with it’s white plastered ceiling. Originally there would have been a rood screen to divide the chancel from the nave.
Walking up to the church the first thing which caught my eye was the splendid C12 Norman West door with it’s three shafts on either side and lovely capitals.
…but entrance into the church is through the pleasing C14 North porch
Inside there’s a handsome C15 font with octagonal bowl and decorated with roses and shields. I think it’s cover might be Jacobean.
The chancel being somewhat darker than the nave gives the simple Sanctuary a serene atmosphere, and displays the lovely 1888 stained glass East window to perfection
.There is a fine piscina and sedilia which are survivors from the early priory days.
The north transept used to be a chapel (dedicated to St Fursey) but this is no longer in use.

An old ledgerstone dated 1652  for Thomasine Trott made my visit complete…such a great name!

. Sadly some parts of the churchyard could do with some tender loving care.

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