Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Chilton, Suffolk

Despite the fact that my satnav denied all knowledge of a Chilton existing in Suffolk, St Mary was easy to spot as I headed back towards Sudbury looming over an industrial estate.

St Mary is a CCT church and is kept locked but with very clear directions, by foot or car, to the keyholder's house - unfortunately, this being a Tuesday mid-morning, the keyholder was out. This is a pity as I would have liked to have seen the Crane monuments, I may return.

ST MARY. On no road, about 1/4 m. from Chilton Hall. There is no village near either. Flint, but with a C16 W tower of brick. The Crane Chapel at the NE end also of brick. Moreover, a Tudor brick window of two lights in the nave N wall next to a very tall transomed straight-headed stone window also of two lights. The S windows are equally tall and transomed, but of three lights and arched. - FONT. Perp, octagonal, simple. - SCREEN. Only the dado survives. - STAINED GLASS. In the tracery of the E window of the Crane Chapel two original figures. - MONUMENTS. Alabaster effigy probably of George Crane d. 1491. - Alabaster effigies of Robert Crane d. 1500 and his wife. - Sir Robert Crane d. 1643 with his two wives. This monument was prepared in 1626. The sculptor was Gerard Christmas, and the price in the contract is £50. Tripartite composition of the shape of the so-called Venetian window. Columns of touch. Three niches. In the middle one Sir Robert kneeling frontally, in the other two the two wives in profile.

St Mary (3)

CHILTON. It has a lovely old hall of mellow red brick with an embattled corner turret and a bridge of many arches astride its moat. The little 15th century church stands remote in the fields alnost hid by tall elms, its brick tower battlemented with flint and pinnacled with stone. There is a panelled 15th century font and a Jacobean altar table, but it is the splendid monuments of the squires of Chilton that attract all eyes. Sir Robert Crane of Shakespeare's day kneels on the vestry wall in his Stuart armour and baggy red breeches, with a wife on either side, and earlier Cranes are sleeping here on their fine altar tombs. One is a long-haired man in armour, his head resting on his helmet, his feet on a strange beast, his wife in tight-waisted gown and SS collar. The other is a merchant with his money-bag at his waist and a quaint animal at his feet looking round at these last vestiges of his master’s opulence.

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