Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Little Thurlow, Suffolk

St Peter looked heavily restored and the interior will remain a mystery as it was locked with no keyholder listed - this is a pity as Mee makes it sound rather interesting.

ST PETER. Early C14. The W tower has a W window with intersected cusped tracery. The top, with a flushwork chequerboard pattern, is Perp. Both aisles have segment-headed Dec windows, the S side also two with uncusped Y-tracery. Arcade with octagonal piers and double-chamfered arches, probably Dec. The chancel is over-restored; the clerestory N windows are C17. The N chapel (Soame Chapel) is of brick plastered. Its date is Jacobean, and it has its original circular windows. Of the arches to the chancel one has Jacobean plaster decoration. The ceiling is Jacobean also. - FONT. Square, Norman, with angle-shafts and bold foliage motifs, almost like poppy-heads. - SCREEN. The dado only, with panels with prettily painted flowers. - FAMILY PEW. Jacobean. - COMMUNION RAIL. Three-sided, mid or late C17. - CHANDELIER, of brass, undated, 17-18. - STAINED GLASS. Early C17 in the oval W window of the Soame Chapel. - MONUMENTS. Brass of a Knight and Lady, c. 1520, 18 in. figures. - Sir Stephen Soame d. 1619, Lord Mayor of London, builder of the chapel in which the monument was erected, and benefactor of Little Thurlow. Large and excellent alabaster structure. Two recumbent effigies, he behind and a little above her. To the l. and r. groups of four columns, two detached, two attached. The children arranged round and between these columns and also on the ground, two kneeling frontally l. and r. of the base, and three in proļ¬le in front of the base. The columns carry little pediments from which springs a well-detailed arch, e.g. with a frieze of cherubs’ heads. On the top, Father Time l. and an angel r. Original iron grille. - Stephen Soame d. 1771 by J. Walsh of London. Above a big inscription plate strigillated sarcophagus on which medallion with a relief of a mother and child. Obelisk background.

LITTLE THURLOW. It owes much to a Lord Mayor of London whom Shakespeare may have seen, Sir Stephen Soame. On the hill we may see the charming almshouses he built, a schoolhouse put up with the money he left, and in the church his splendid canopied tomb. It is in the north chapel, which has richly carved arches and a Jacobean roof with coats of arms on hanging bosses. The great marble tomb shows a remarkable family group in stone. Sir Stephen lies in armour beside his wife, who has a ruff and wide fur-edged sleeves. In front of them kneel three daughters in flowing headdresses; a son and a daughter are at each end, four more sons are at the head and feet, and two little daughters stand in niches behind. Great days this proud family must have seen in London.

Close by in this chapel is a tragic monument of a very different kind, a propeller cut as a cross in memory of an officer killed in a flying accident. It is one of the newest things in this ancient church, which has memories of 700 years. The aisles were made about 1300, the chancel is 14th century, the tower with its parapet of flint and stone is 15th. The clerestory is modern, but above the arcades are striking corbels which look as if they may have been carved when the Norman style was passing away. Very amusing they are, heads of men pulling faces at each other across the nave.

The font may be Norman too, its line square bowl carved with foliage. There is a handsome candelabra crowned by a dove, brass portraits of a Tudor couple, and a screen which has panels 500 years old, painted with flowers. The hall is the successor of Sir John Soame’s Elizabethan house, which is said to have had a staircase so broad that a coach and four could have driven up it. There is a row of fine old yews in the grounds, and the ancient garden is here still. But more thrilling is the bowling green on which Charles the Second played when he came with his courtiers; there is in existence a wood with a crown on it, found in the moat.

Flickr set.

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