Saturday, 16 April 2016

St Andrew's church, Wissett

This charming church has been a place of worship for almost a thousand years. It was in a ruinous state by the early C19 and was restored and brought back to life by the Hartopp family who were local Lords of the Manor at that time.

The C15 south porch has it’s original roof and shelters the C12 Norman South doorway which has amusing smiling faces carved around it’s arch.

Scratch dials are evident on both sides of the doorway uprights

.A holy water stoup is inside the church by the South door, .

A pleasing font-possibly C15- is at the West end of the church, it has angels carrying shields on it’s bowl and woodwoses (wild men) and lions around it’s stem

At the base of the West tower is a Tudor door which leads up to the belfry, and either side of the tower arch hangs Decalogue panels. 

A coat of Arms for George 111 hangs on the West end of the South wall

I was curious about the odd stone on which the old bier now appears a heating appliance once stood here and was used to warm the church for Sunday services.  

There used to be box pews in the nave but these were replaced by bench seats in the early C20 – most of these bench ends have old -  although a few of them have more recent poppy-head ends to them..

The C15 nave windows are perpendicular in style and were installed at the time the nave was enlarged…three of the windows contain fragments of medieval glass

At the East end of the nave clues remain which tell us that in medieval times another altar and piscina stood here, and on the North wall opposite is a doorway which led up some stone stairs to the rood loft, so evidently a rood screen used to be here, which would have separated the chancel from the nave….Strangely the rood loft door is set higher from the floor than usually found, maybe this has something to do with the height of the church floor level at various times through the centuries.

 The C15 chancel arch pillars have old graffiti scratched on them.   >>

Since 1973 the rood in this church has been represented by a large hanging straw cross, which certainly looks in keeping with a church set amidst an agricultural community

In the chancel floor is a surviving brass for Elizabeth Blomfield who died in 1638 aged 19 years.

In 2009 a polishing stone and a ladies C16 shoe were found during the restoration work on the 60’ high tower ….A long held story says that concealing a shoe in a church wards off evil spirits and brings good fortune to all who worship there. .
The pulpit and priest’s desk are C17 and probably started out as a double decker pulpit.
     In 1968 the church was flooded to about two feet deep, as can be seen by the tide mark on some of the pew ends

There is an Angel carved on each of the wooden  finials which surround the Altar >>

My favourite item in this church is the modern statue of St Andrew sculptured in 2006 by
Peter Eugene Ball. It stands in a large niche near a window by the chancel arch. This eye catching statue is a beautiful and meaningful depiction of St Andrew the fisherman

Set into the nave aisle floor is a diamond shaped tablet for the two tiny babies of the Rev Edward Cornish Wells who both died when aged four months of age

Two of the tombstones in the graveyard have a spikes on their lids, this was protection against grave robbers.

This is a well loved and cared for church which reaches out in welcome to all who visit here.

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