Saturday, 3 September 2011

Landwade, Suffolk

Actually Landwade is in Suffolk nowadays but when Mee was surveying the county it was still in Cambridgeshire.

St Nicholas took me three trips to find and when I did eventually locate it it was locked. Later research showed that a key is kept at the Hall but at the time of my visit no-one appeared to be home anyway.

This is a must re-visit church for it houses the Cotton monuments and looks unmissable - ho hum another addition to things to do.

UPDATE: I finally gained access in Sept 2012 when some ladies were preparing for Harvest festival and it certainly lived up to expectations.

ST NICHOLAS. On its own, near the moat of the former and close to the unattractive new Hall (which incorporates some details of the old). Built c. 1445 for Sir Walter Cotton in the possession of that family to the C19. Nave, transepts, and chancel; low W tower. Perp tracery. three-light E window and N transept E window; the rest of two lights. The transepts are divided from the crossing by an arcade of two bays. The roof rests on original head-corbels. - ROOD SCREEN. With two light divisions, broad ogee arches and Perp tracery with a transom above; well designed. - STOUP. Nice embattled arched niche near the N doorway. - BENCHES with poppy-heads. - PANELLING. Some re-used linenfold and some re-used Elizabethan panelling (originally with inlay) against the W wall. - STAINED GLASS. Many fragments, including some nearly complete small figures; the original mid C15 work. - MONUMENTS. An exceptional number. In the chancel three silent tomb-chests, without evidence of whom they commemorated. The motifs of two of them are three or four shields set in lozenges. One has a depressed segmental back-arch with quatrefoils in the soflit and cresting, and beneath the arch indents of kneeling brass figures. - S transept: Recess with tombchest decorated by four ornately cusped quatrefoils in the front; the arch depressed-pointed with traceried soflit, cresting and indents for kneeling figures on the back wall. - N transept Sir John Cotton d. 1593, six-poster with two recumbent effigies. Top with obelisk and achievement surrounded by heavy openwork strap ornament. Strapwork also e.g. on the pilasters of the tomb-chest. - In the S transept three more Cotton monuments: Sir John Cotton d. 1620 and wife, standing wall monument with his figure lying on his side, hand on heart, and hers in front of his, a little lower down. Low arch, flanking black columns, broken segmental pediment, white, pink, and black marble. - Sir John Cotton d. 1689. The same composition and materials; i.e. very reactionary. The figure now semi-reclining, the pediment straight, broken, and ending in volutes. These monuments have original iron railings. - Sir John Cotton d.1712, all-white, of marble with obelisk and two putti in front of it holding a double portrait medallion.

St Nicholas (2)

LANDWADE. No two families left a more treasured heritage to Landwade than the Roman who settled here 1600 years ago and the Cottons who arrived in the 15th century. The Roman built his villa where a winding stream would water his garden and supply his bath, and then he laid down the mosaic pavement which we have seen in the Sedgwick Museum at Cambridge, the only Roman pavement preserved in the county. The Cottons built the great house in the park and the 15th century church beside it, where a fine array of monuments keeps their memory green, though their brass portraits have been stolen off one rich canopied tomb. Among them are four Sir Johns. Sir John of 1593 is sculptured as a knight in gauntlets at prayer with his wife under the canopy of their painted tomb, a dog at the feet of the lady, whose scent case hangs on a long chain. Sir John of 1620 lies in armour on an alabaster tomb in the vault he built, his sword at his belt and one of his three wives on a ledge below him, her finger in a book. The alabaster figure of Sir John the Third of 1689 reclines under an arch adorned with cherubs; his hair is long and curly, but he is armed for war. Sir John of 1712 and his wife appear on medallion portraits between their two children.

The church where they lie is a squat little building in a hushed corner, reached by an avenue of pink chestnuts, with a little bridge stepping over the deep water moat of the hall close by. Worn outside and white-washed inside, its chief interest apart from the Cotton monuments is its medieval glass and the delightful stone corbels supporting the old roof beams, some full of character. Here are heads of men and women, and there is a lion, and in the chancel are the best of all, a monk and a bishop, a king and his lovely queen with her hair gathered in a flowered net. The piscina and an exquisite niche are flowery, too, and the old poppyhead benches are carved with roses. Remains of canopied niches jut out from the pillars of the old oak screen of fine tracery. From the 13th century come parts of stone coffins. The old glass includes shields and saints, Margaret appearing twice among them with her dragon, once in the south transept and once in the north. Other saints stand on a tiled floor in a nave window, and another is with angels in the east window.


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