Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Little Waldingfield, Suffolk

St Lawrence, and Little Waldingfield, are, quite simply, beautiful. Amongst its treasures are two fine porches, a fantastic font and some excellent brasses.

The interior is light, airy and, unlike many south Suffolk churches, feels relatively untouched by both Dowsing and the Victorians - OK the glass, as you'd expect, has gone but any restoration that was done has been exceptionally sympathetic.

ST LAWRENCE. All Perp. The distinguishing feature is the two rood-stair turrets with their crocketed spirelets. W tower, nave and aisles and clerestory. The arcades have quatrefoil piers with embattled capitals and carry arches of one wave and one hollow with little decorative ogee gables. The same motif over the aisle windows and also over the doorways. That on the S side is decorated with crowns, faces, and big square fleurons. S porch of brick and flint, roughly striped. N porch of brick. The front has a stepped gable in front of a steep plain gable. The latter carries a pinnacle. Niche for an image below this. The chancel E window looks plain C17 Gothic. The roofs in the nave, cambered on arched braces, and in the aisles are original. - FONT. Octagonal, with the Signs of the Evangelists and four frontal figures of monks with books. - PULPIT. Jacobean; good. - READING DESK. With panels with similar motifs. - WEST DOOR . With a band of quatrefoils. - NORTH DOOR. With a band of foliage trails outside, a band of shields and quatrefoils inside. - CHEST. Good C15 chest with traceried front. - BRASSES. John Coleman d. 1506, 2 ft 6 in. figure (by the E wall of the N aisle). - Robert Appleton d. 1526 and wife, 20 in. figures. - John Wyncoll d. 1544, 19 in. figure.

North porch

Font (7)

John Wyncoll 1544 (1)

LITTLE WALDINGFIELD. Its 15th century church has a fine tower with four stone priests instead of pinnacles. Unfortunately they have lost their heads; and so have the angels by the handsome south doorway, which is enriched with flowers and heads and a crown. On the north side there is an old brick porch now blocked up. The nave has battlemented piers supporting unusual decorated arches, the Jacobean pulpit is finely carved with little arches and foliage, and a beautiful desk for the vicar looks as if it were made of material from a pulpit. There are old benches with poppyheads, some fragments of old glass, and an ancient chest with rough ironwork and an arched lid. The 15th century font has angels supporting the bowl, which is carved with the symbols of the Evangelists and four seated figures holding open books. Nearby is a Jacobean table once an altar.

One of the little sights of the church we do not see, for it is under the organ, a brass showing John Colman of 1506, with his wife and 13 children. Another brass half-hidden by the organ has a portrait of a Tudor clothier, John Wyncoll, in a doublet and furred gown; and still another, seen quite well, shows Roger Appleton of 1526 and his wife, he in armour with a long sword strapped to his waist, she in a headdress rather like the one Sir John Tenniel loved to draw for the Duchess in Alice in Wonderland. Very interesting it was to find on the wall above this old couple a brass in memory of a 20th century Appleton from Boston, Massachusetts, whom we take to be a descendant of Roger and his wife.

Near the church is an old house called the Priory, with a vaulted crypt and a fine timber roof. It may have belonged to a monastery.

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