Tuesday, 12 July 2016

St Peter's church, South Elmham

This delightful medieval church stands just inside the church wall alongside a quiet country road…it is shielded from the road by trees, making taking photographs of the outside of the church quite difficult.
The first thing I noticed when I drew up by the church gate was the self seeded wallflowers which were growing all over the tower walls - a real delight to see.
I think the South porch must have been originally built in the C14 but has undergone later repair work…small weathered headstops flank the porch doorway.  What appears to be the remains of a small scratch dial is on the West wall just beyond the porch

A charming C15 font displaying carved roses and shields around it’s bowl stands just through the church door, it is topped by a C17 cover. These carvings still look so lovely that I feel the font must have been restored.

It is such a pity the stone corbel heads on the roof wall posts have all been brutally defaced, I imagine these would have depicted angels or maybe sovereign heads 
The pulpit is most probably C18 but the beautiful rood screen is from a later date. possibly as late as early C20, although there is evidence of an earlier rood screen. 

 There is a handsome cusped niche on either side of the chancel arch, both with a crocketted ogee arch - and down the sides of the chancel columns remain small head carvings.
The East window stands above a delightful oak reredos

An early C14 piscina is in the south wall of the sanctuary

For many years the Tasburgh’s - a family of some consequence were closely connected to this church. John Tasburgh  d 1473  and his widow Margery d 1484 requested to be buried in the Chapel of Our Lady Virgin Mary which had been built on the North side of the chancel toward the end of the C14 and it adjoined the chancel by a large stone archway . This chapel was desecrated – possibly during the Reformation, and by the early C19 had disappeared with the Tasburgh family tombs long gone…the only evidence now to show that there was ever a North chapel here is two of the Tasburgh tomb panels decorated with quatrefoils which contain shields, which were used to form  part of the foundations of the wall which was erected to fill in the North wall archway.

This is a pleasant church and churchyard to visit, although the churchyard is quite overgrown, but it contains a few interesting gravestones

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