Sunday, 13 March 2016

Shadingfield, St John the Baptist

Car parking for the church has to be across the other side of the road, as St John’s stands on high ground above a sharp bend in the road.
The church’s C14 tower which has a castellated parapet has had a C19 red brick patch worked into it, where essential restoration work was needed, other restoration work to the tower took place in 1983.

An early C16 red brick South porch was added, which has a rather grand façade for it’s size. This had to be restored in 2001.

Both the church doorways look Norman yet have the early English pointed top to the arch, which means they could be from the transitional time of Norman to Gothic architecture. The North doorway has dogtooth decoration around it’s arch which probably indicates this was probably meant originally as the main entrance, as the South doorway was left plain.
This church has already undergone much restoration, and I would think the next thing to be addressed must be the outer skin of the building, as this needs attention (see first picture)   
..The church interior is one large space with no arch to divide the nave from the chancel, but there’s evidence that there used to be one here as there’s two pairs of corbel head supports on the walls where a rood screen would have been.
..To the West of the North door inside the church there is a well worn raised burial slab, which is believed to be C13 (possibly belonging to an early priest)
..All the nave benches have poppy head ends, except for two which have demi-figures of a man (priest?) on them

The late C15 octagonal font is carved with Tudor roses and shields

In the NW wall behind the font is a wedged shaped banner stave locker…these are seen more often in  Suffolk churches than anywhere else.
The Royal Arms of Charles ll hangs on the South wall of the nave.

Traces of medieval wall paintings were uncovered and restored in 1992 >

The chancel was extensively restored in 1841 but managed to retain it’s C13 slit  window in it’s North wall which now contains Victorian stained glass…

..There's also a nice early English lancet window which contains mid C19 memorial glass  >

There are several interesting brasses and memorials to be seen in the chancel, these are mainly for the Cuddon family who lived at Shadingfield Hall from C13-C18

An altar cloth edged with hand made lace was given to the church by the wife of William Cuddon on Christmas Day 1632. It is now is the safe keeping of a museum.

..The C19 East window is simple but delightful, it’s border is made from a mixture of stained glass saved from the previous three centuries. It is flanked by two stone Decalogue panels.

A C13 piscina and a dropped-sill sedilia are let into the South wall of the Sanctuary.

I’m told this  Bishop’s chair dates from the C17

There’s also a C17 chest with an equally old bible sitting upon it.

 Some badly neglected graves in the churchyard include a family vault for the Scott family who resided at Shadingfield Hall in the mid C19

   I found many headstones belonging to members of the same Shadingfield families – a particular one of interest was for the family of James and Emma Bird and their 16 children, evidently a descendant had erected this so that all the family could be remembered together.

 ..A  Celtic Cross stands on the South side of the churchyard and acts as a memorial for paying pay respect to the fallen in the Great war of 1914-1918.

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