Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Sudbury, Suffolk part 2

Having visited Sudbury in February and the subsequent discovery that All Saints was not the only church in town I returned to visit St Gregory and St Peter.

St Peter is a CCT church right in the heart of Sudbury and is, externally, stunning but I found the interior a bit of let down. This may have been due to a book fair being conducted in the nave but I just found the whole too forensic and sterile.

Having said that I did like elements such as the rood screen dados, the reredos and the south chapel altar as well as the interesting crucifixion graffiti in the south chapel.

Thinking that I might be being a bit harsh I went to the excellent SimonK's site to see what he made of it and must say that when I visited I had a warm welcome and was positively encouraged to take photos!

ST PETER. Perp: although large and convincingly expressing the wealth of a prosperous wool-manufacturing town, this church was built as a chapel of ease. W tower of c. 1460-85, with a pretty copper spirelet of 1810 that tells much in distant views. Nave and aisles, clerestory with a doubling of windows. Chancel and chancel chapels. The aisles embrace the tower. S porch two-storeyed, three niches in the front. The ground floor was intended to be vaulted. No N porch. Tall arcades of five rather narrow bays, the piers with four attached shafts and four small hollows in the diagonals. The chancel redecorated by Bodley, 1898 . Vestry under the chancel. - By Bodley also the tall reredos. - Handsome BALCONY right above the chancel arch and the former rood. - ROOD SCREEN. Dado with completely repainted figures. - PARCLOSE SCREENS. Very rich, though with only one-light divisions. But the arches are broad and there is much cusped tracery. - DOORS. S and N doors with tracery. - FONT. Octagonal, Perp. The bowl with cusped pointed quatrefoils. - PAINTINGS. Moses and Aaron (N aisle, W end), from the C18 reredos. Painted by Robert Cardinall, early C18. - EMBROIDERY. Alderman’s Pall, C15. Among the embroidered motifs small kneeling figure in shroud, with prayers from the Vulgate. - Preaching Cloth, i.e. Pulpit Frontal, Jacobean.

Reredos

South chapel altar

Grafitti (2)

St Peter’s stands on Market Hill with Gainsborough in front. It is nearly all 15th century, but has Norman stones in its tower. The curious angle of its west wall is due to the fact that houses stood close up to it in other days. It has fine old traceried doors, a 17th century nave roof panelled in blue and gold, fine screens, a medieval font once used as a cattle trough, two medieval choir-stalls, and a pair of fine chairs with 16th century carving; on one chair is a man with a wide-brimmed hat and on the other a Nativity with three shepherds, an ox, and an ass looking on. Over the two doors are two faded paintings of Moses and Aaron by a Suffolk pupil of Sir Godfrey Kneller.

The elaborate decoration of the chancel is by George Frederick Bodley, whose reredos shows the Annunciation and the Crucifixion in deep relief under golden canopies. Much finer, however, is the oak reredos in the south chapel, with the Last Supper above and the Nativity below; it has shepherds with their crooks, angels under canopies, and richly painted tabernacle work.

Three fragments of medieval England St Peter’s has, a piece of embroidery of 1500, rood screen panels with eight painted saints, and a long narrow oak canopy which once sheltered a crucifix; it is still where it would be then, over the lofty chancel arch. The embroidery, the great treasure of the church, is known as the Sudbury Pall and is still used at the burials of aldermen. It is of maroon velvet with a fringe of green and gold, and round it are floral ornaments worked in gold and silver thread with kneeling figures in white shrouds. Above the figures are fine scrolls with prayers on them. There is a more modest example of embroidery in the royal arms on the cloth of the Jacobean pulpit.

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