Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Haddiscoe St Mary's church

When I last visited this church some years ago it was on a wet miserable day, and the interior of the church seemed to exude the same dismal aura. This second visit on a bright warm summer’s day proved that first impressions aren’t always correct, as this church is utterly charming! It stands on a grassy knoll overlooking the surrounding countryside.

The chequerboard top to the tower is C15 and tops what is essentially a Saxon tower which has an internal diameter of just eight feet.

The C15 south porch protects a very fine Norman doorway which has a contemporary stone carved plaque above it depicting a figure of a seated priest with a dove over his head 

High above the tower belfry arch remains a Saxon doorway into the tower which looks down into the nave

A North Aisle was added on to the nave in the C13

The church has undergone some restoration over the years, although a C13 double piscina in the SE wall of the chancel remains in situ.

Early roundel windows on both sides of the chancel are blocked up

 On the nave walls fragments of medieval paintings can still be seen, the clearest one is over the arcade into the North aisle and is of St Christopher holding the Christ child. (this particular subject is frequently seen in medieval wall paintings, usually opposite the church entrance. He is the patron saint of travellers, and it was thought people passing through would have a safe day after seeing his image)

The C15 font is in the traditional East Anglia style but now has a modern cover

There are some interesting ledgerstones in the church. I was fascinated by one let into the nave aisle. It is in Dutch..the translation reads "In memory of Bele daughter of John, wife of Peter the Dykestaff, who died 2nd December 1525" (It was during this time that many men came over from Holland and settled in Britain to help with Britain's land reclamation)

An influential family by the name of Grimmer resided in Haddiscoe during the mid C19 and apart from a large ornate memorial plaque in the North wall of the North aisle dedicated to George Grimmer, his wife Lucy and their children William, George and Laura Augusta, there's also a tall memorial gravestone outside in the churchyard for the family as well.                                                                                                                                                                                  I was hoping to find the plaque attached to the outside of the churchyard's South wall for William Slater, he was a coachman in the C18 who met an untimely death when his coach crashed on the then Norwich turnpike, which was directly below the mound where the church and churchyard stand...His plaque was placed on the outer wall high above the exact pot where the crash happened.  Unfortunately on account of the church and churchyard being on high soft ground, the surrounding wall has now collapsed into the wide expanse of verdant growth of trees and bushes which cover the ground down to the track below. This made discovery of Mr Slater's epitaph impossible to find.  No doubt three hundred years ago no-one imagined how much the countryside would change over the ensuing years

There are some interesting headstones in the churchyard..I like the unusual surname on the one shown here 'Tiptod' ..I've never come across that name before.

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