Thursday, 28 April 2016

St Mary's Church, Burgh St Peter

 This little church is reached down a seemingly never ending country lane, near the marshes and close to the river Waveney, about a mile from the village.
I was surprised to find the church is dedicated to St Mary and not to St Peter..
            My first sight of the church caused me some amazement because of it’s was not what I was expecting to see. It resembles a Middle Eastern folly rather than the more traditional church tower I am used to.. It was erected in stages at different times in the C18/C19 in the manner of  children’s building bricks, tapering toward the top..

 I was intrigued……
            …On researching more about the church, it appears a family by the name of Boycott were wealthy landowners in the area from the early 1700’s and were rectors and patrons of  St Mary’s then, and for the following two hundred years... It was Samuel Boycott who was rector here from 1764-1795 who in 1793 began the building of this diminishing four stage construction, on top of an early C16 flint and patterned brick base… This first stage was to become the family vault for many subsequent Boycott family members. The rest of the tower is thought to be in the style of a church that Samuel’s son John saw when abroad on his ‘Grand Tour’.
The second stage is now used as a vestry, but the higher stages are unused…
Sadly to my eye it looks rather incongruous butted up against a medieval nave and chancel.

The interior of the church although simple, is very pleasing to the eye.
The font has an octagonal bowl and dates from around the early C16

The early C19 pulpit is unusual as it is covered in memorial plaques  to the Boycott Rectors and other family members – something I’ve not seen in any other church.

Behind the pulpit part of the old Rood Screen stairs are still in evidence, but the present Rood Screen is comparatively modern, having been erected as a memorial to the Rev. Leeding, who was Rector here in the early C20.

                    On the south wall of the chancel the C14 piscina and sedilla remain in situ.

The south porch originally built in the C15 was later heightened, and the C13 South and North church doors have undergone much restoration work over the centuries.

The interior of St Mary's


the reredos >>


There is a fine scratch/mass dial on the outside wall

Just beyond the East window in the churchyard lies the grave of Charles Cunningham Boycott (1832-1897)…** it was his involvement in the Irish troubles in the mid C19 that resulted in the word ‘boycott’ being introduced into the English language..(source..’The Brief History of St Mary’s Church’                               
                                                The graves of some of the Boycott family
This stone is situated by the West tower

After leaving the church and driving back toward the village, I stopped to take a look back to where the church was just visible standing alone in splendid isolation.
It made me wonder what this area would be like on a damp day when the surrounding marshes encompass the church and it's graveyard in a swirling mist....maybe a little unnerving.

1 comment:

  1. That tower is really odd. It just doesn't seem to fit in with the rest of the building at all. I think you're right - it could look very spooky in the certain weather conditions.