Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Beccles St Michael the Archangel

This is a lovely welcoming church situated in the town centre. It is evident that the town’s people love and enjoy their church as it is kept in immaculate condition.
Before entering the church I noted something of special interest on the outside.….This is one of the few churches which has an outside pulpit - I’m not sure if this story is correct but it’s claimed that the patients from a local leper hospital used to stand outside and the vicar would stand in this pulpit and preach to them.

There is no tower attached to the church – the ground at the W end of the church was thought too unstable to support the weight of a tower, so one was built away from the church at it’s SE end.

Entry into the church is through a wonderfully ornate South porch, which has many niches which were probably originally filled with statues

Although a new modern font is now used, the fine old C13 one still stands at the rear of the church, it retains it’s octagonal bowl of Purbeck marble which stands on a plinth from a later date

Near the entrance door is an old medieval chest which has three locks. This would have held all important documents pertaining to the church

High above the S entrance door is a most unusual squint window – these are normally tiny plain glass. Two rather grubby C17
 hatchments hang below

The large expanse of the nave is light and airy, helped somewhat by it’s clerestory windows

A very fine Royal Arms of Charles ll hang at the NW end of the nave   

The wonderful richly carved early C20 chancel screen was a gift from the Crowfoot family (their family tombs can be found outside the S side of the church)

The lectern and pulpit are Victorian and made in the Gothic style

The choir stalls have delightful carvings on the pew ends

 I like the stone carved memorial tomb now placed in the N wall of the sanctuary. It is attributed to  John Rede, a former Lord Mayor of Norwich who died in 1502... It's original frieze showed all of his eight sons and three daughters (the first son on the frieze had to be cut off when tomb moved to it's present position, so that the frieze would fit into this new space)
In the SE aisle of the chancel is a memorial chapel dedicated to the men who gave up their lives for this Country in the Great War of 1914-1918. It has beautiful stained glass windows

The church's huge East window commemorates the jubilee of queen Victoria in 1887

The father of Lord Horatio Nelson was once a curate here and he and his wife were married in this church in May 1749

One important thing I must mention is the huge fire which gutted most of the church in 1586. Evidence of this fire still exists with some of the nave pillars showing discolouration through the heat of this fire

There is so much more I could write about this fine church, so I strongly recommend a visit here – you will not be disappointed.  It stands as a witness to the people’s faith in the Lord.

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