Thursday, 29 September 2011

Wickhambrook, Suffolk

Tuesday's planned itinerary was supposed to cover some of the further villages in Suffolk taking in Depden, Somerton, Hawkeden, Stansfield, Denston, Wickhambrook and Stradishall. A later than intended start made this, already ambitious, trip impossible - so much so that I only covered Wickhambrook and Depden (I did however re-visit Brinkley which was open this time).

All Saints is another huge Suffolk church and another building that has been sadly puritanised - although there are items of interest such as Thomas Higham's tomb, the recycled Saxon font re-used as a stoup in the porch and some fine dog-tooth moulding on the credence in the north chapel - but I loved it. The exterior is stunning,as is the location, and the interior is light and airy...definitely a must see but not a top ten.

ALL SAINTS. Mostly Dec, and with a fine chancel. In the E window large circle with figure of six-petalled flower, in the side windows figures of four-petalled flowers. Finely moulded chancel arch. N aisle N windows with cusped and uncusped intersected tracery. Earlier N doorway with two orders of shafts and dog-tooth decoration in the hood-mould. Piscina in the N chapel (Vestry) also with dog-tooth. Somewhat later E window with reticulation. S doorway with two quadrant mouldings, though the windows here are Perp. Tall two-light reticulated window in the W tower. Arcades with octagonal piers but semicircular responds. Double-chamfered arches. On the N side hood-mould with defaced figures. In the N aisle an arch was built or planned to the N. There seems to be no reason for it. The nave roof is of the hammerbeam type, but Jacobean. - BENCHES. Of an unusual shape, C16 or C17. - SCULPTURE. A small Saxon figure of a man with a shield, outside in the S wall. - HELM. Above the Heigham Monument, but not belonging to it. - PLATE. Flagon 1740. - MONUMENTS. (Good Brass to Thomas Burrough d. 1597. LG) - Sir Thomas Heigham d. 1630. By Nicholas Stone. Good alabaster monument. He is lying on his side, his hand on his sword. Broad beard. Plain back wall. The inscription is worth reading. Original grille.

All Saints (2)

Thomas Higham 1630 (1)


WICKHAMBROOK. A village with a maze of narrow lanes, it has a moated manor and an ancient church which have a place in a 19th century best-seller now forgotten, Edna Lyall’s Golden Days. In this romance we may read of the dreamy young Cavalier Hugo Wharncliife coming to worship in this church, "plain enough and bare enough to please a Puritan," yet feeling a strange love for the place as he sat there looking at "the golden sunshine flickering among the shadows of the trees cast on the chancel wall." The church is still a simple building, with ferns growing from its walls and moss from its roof. It has a 14th century tower, a clerestoried nave with arcades 600 years old, and a font a century older. There is an altar tomb with a white marble figure of Sir Thomas Heigham, who found peace here in 1630 after a life of fighting; he is handsome with his curly head, armour and still clutching his sword. Behind a wooden grille in the chancel is an Elizabethan brass showing Thomas Burrough between two wives in Paris caps, their nine children grouped about them.


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