Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Exning, Suffolk

Another locked church which I came across whilst trying to find Landwade church (sadly my sat nav wasn't up to the job which will necessitate a further journey). A lot of modern cement rendering but some nice corbels and a pleasant heart of village setting. This is/was a cruciform church which should instill a certain frisson but has been so thoroughly over restored that it is anodyne.

I stopped off on my way to Landwade almost a year later and found the lady Vicar preparing for Ash Wednesday and she let me have a look around. Sadly the interior is very dull.

ST MARTIN. Much renewed. E.E. chancel with lancet windows on the N and S sides. The E window cannot be trusted. W tower late C13 to early C14. Triple-chamfered tower arch with continuous mouldings. W window with reticulated tracery. S transept Dec. The four-light S window also reticulated. The N transept has the same forms, but they seem all new. C14 arcade of four bays with octagonal piers and double-chamfered arches. - PULPIT. C18 with tester; simple. - STALL. With traceried front and poppy-heads. - BENCH ENDS. Straight-headed, with linenfold panelling. - COMMUNION RAIL. C18, with slender turned balusters. - PLATE. Elizabethan Cup; Paten 1637; Paten 1825; Flagon 1830.

EXNING. It is said that St Etheldreda, Queen of Northumbria, was born here about 600 years before Magna Carta, and it is said also that this old place is the mother of Newmarket which grew up when Exning lost its market through the plague.

A corner of Suffolk nearly surrounded by Cambridgeshire, it has a house with iron gates of the 18th century, a wood with three springs where Etheldreda is said to have been baptised, a few pleasant old houses, and a church which was here when Newmarket was a hamlet. With a lofty 14th century tower standing proudly on a little hill, it has a 13th century chancel and a nave with pillars that have stood 500 years. There is a beautiful niche by the north door, a room over the south porch, the roodloft stairs intact, and a double piscina with two openings like pigeon-holes, the work of a sculptor of Chaucer's day. Some of the benches have old linenfold panelling, and near the altar is the tomb of an unknown 15th century priest.

Flickr set.

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