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Thursday, 19 October 2017

St Peter's church, Spexhall

A country church in a delightful peaceful setting on high ground surrounded by trees in the Suffolk countryside

You enter the churchyard through metal gates on the East side of the church. These gates are in  memory of William and Maria Stannard and of their sons Reginald, Robert and Walter who died in the service of their Country 1914-1918…
 While walking round the churchyard I noticed on the North side there were many graves spanning three hundred years belonging to the Garrould family.
There’s a poignant solitary grave of a child on the SE end of the churchyard.  As this churchyard is now a wild life sanctuary I imagine it won’t be long before this sad little grave will soon  be lost from sight  in the undergrowth                                                



St Peter’s is mainly built with flint and rubble, but the 1713 East wall has a lozenge pattern in red brick which surrounds the East window. The 1713 window was replaced during the 1876 restoration of the church. The SE buttress has this date incorporated into it’s stone work
At the East end of the South wall there is a 1888  flying buttress sheltering a C14 blocked up priest’s door…
...there is a similar buttress on the North wall. Presumably these were added to strengthen the church walls after the roof was renewed in 1876
There is also a simple Norman door which is blocked up on the North side of the church

The original tower was believed to have been built about 1150 although Saxon work was found in it’s ruins when the present 1911 tower was erected – the previous one having fallen down by 1725 

Entry into the church is via the C15 South porch which was restored in 1733
Inside the porch is the early C14 medieval church doorway which has head-stops of a Bishop and a King on either side, sadly these are now badly eroded.
The interior of St Peter’s is long and  narrow with a C19 tiled floor. It is a plain building with no rood screen to divide nave from chancel
During the C19 restoration the old C18 box pews were replaced by simple bench seating.
 The early C15 font has shields set in quatrefoils carved on it’s bowl
This small country church is known as the *plough church* and an old plough is kept in the chancel. A special service is held here on plough day in January each year.

There is the usual (for medieval churches) Holy water stoup in the West wall by the South door and a C14 piscina is set into the South wall of the Sanctary.
 The remains of the rood stairs are still in situ near the chancel steps  

The unusual 1897 lectern is dedicated to the Garrould family who were long standing worshippers at this church


The pulpit is C19 but done in the style of the C17

The vibrant coloured East window is also Victorian 




Brasses for the Browne family are placed on the East end of the South wall of the nave - they lived at Burghards Manor Spexhall in the C16 
There's a memorial on the North wall for men who lost their lives during the Great War 1914-1918
and Victorian Decalogue panels hang on the West wall either side of the tower arch.  

 A set of Arms of George ll hang by the South door

A war memorial can be seen at the NE end of the churchyard


This is a very welcoming
 church and can always be found open.  There are many other items of interest to see here.
 A visit is recommended



Sunday, 1 October 2017

The church of Saints Peter & Paul Kelsale



This is a lovely church which has gone through two huge C19 restorations.  It set in a serene position in a quiet village.  The first thing which catches the eye is it’s most unusual C19 lych-gate which leads parishioners through an avenue of lime trees up to the south porch


The oak door into the church still retains it’s huge iron knocker.
-  also there’s a smattering of early graffiti around the door arch

Hanging from the porch roof is an large old converted gasolier

There's a small bright belfry to the West as
you enter the church.

- beyond this stands the sturdy low C15 font which has an interesting charity board on either side. with hatchments hanging above.


Below the large five-light West window stands a beautiful septych, this was meant to be the reredos to stand behind the altar at the East end of the chancel, but it covered too much of the East  window so was removed from there to it’s present position.





  A striking statue of Samuel Clouting who died July 1852 is let into the SW wall of the nave – he appears to have been a very philanthropic man.






There’s a beautiful C19 wrought iron screen with bronze figures which divides the chancel from the nave.


The nave contains a Jacobean carved pulpit which stands near the rood screen door.








Some nice stained glass adorns the church windows and a special one by William Morris is in the North wall of the chancel…this was added by Rev Irving Davies and his wife in memory of their daughter Georgina Mary Paulina who was born in Jerusalem in May 1850 but died August 1875>>



The South aisle was the the original church and now contains memorials to the C17 & C18 Russel families





Above the South door is a plaque dedicated toLancelot Brown, a rector here for 58 years…he was the grandson of Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown the famed landscape gardener

There are many wall plaques and memorials of interest here


                                                                                                                                    Church interior
                                                                                                                         
   
The fine North Norman doorway is thought to have been the original South entrance doorway  before being moved during one of the restorations…the Priest’s door in the South wall is it's contemporary                                                        priests' door >>
In the enormous graveyard are some headstones of particular interest –including an early C20 one of Sir Harry Courthope Munroe and his wife Dame Ellen which has their family crest depicted upon it.

                 Kelsale graveyard

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Gunton St Peter

An attractive church standing at the end of a cul-de-sac and close to nearby woods.  It probably originates from Saxon times. It has a diminutive round tower which has been restored in recent years.  A complete restoration of St Peter’s took place in 1899 with a vestry added on to the North side of the church in 1903
The church has a very fine North Norman doorway with a carved chevron design


There are two nice medieval windows in the church – a Norman one in the nave and a C13 one in the chancel

The C16 South porch shields another Norman doorway, again with a chevron design - the right hand jamb of this doorway is cut away to house a holy water stoup, and a scratch dial can be found at the bottom of the left hand side of the archway - this was probably moved here when the porch was added.
A single barrel ceiling stretches the length of the church as there’s now no chancel arch or rood screen to divide the chancel from the nave…although evidence remains on the wall where the arch would have been.  There is a stairway at the East end of the North wall of the nave which would have led up to a rood loft - Although the rood stairs are still in evidence, they are now blocked as the rood has long gone. 
A nice carved eagle lectern stands in the nave


On the nave walls are candle holders which look as if they are still used occasionally


There is a simple font which is in use nowadays, while an unused Norman font stands inside the porch

<<Norman font

On the West wall hangs a wooden cross which came from the WW1 battlefield grave of Cpt. Reginald Charlesworth aged 24 yrs


The clear glass in the windows are unusually striated. The only stained glass window in the church is it’s East window where four 1960 panels depict Christ, the sower, the reaper and the fishermen



The piscina and dropped-sill sedilia in the chancel are simple in style.


There is a memorial tablet on the South wall of the chancel for Isabella Steward who died in 1867. She knew her death was imminent so composed her own epitaph, which her husband added on to her memorial tablet. His own memorial tablet by comparison is very stark.

Other wall memorials include one for Charles Boyce, plus a ledger-stone for him and his wife... ...At the end of the C17 this man using his own money rebuilt the church which had fallen into disrepair .


A poignant tablet let into the aisle floor …I can find no information about this poor child nor the family.


         

There are some interesting headstones in the churchyard, I particularly like this one for a ten year old girl
her name was Dorothy Riley, who was killed in a road accident in 1931.

...and there’s  a poignant stone from 1990  near the porch door for seafaring men who’s graves needed to be moved, when the new church annex was built  
A really delightful church with many more things of interest to see...a church which gives the appearance of being well loved by it's congregation.