Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Stoke Ash, Suffolk

The exterior of All Saints promised much so I sought out the key and was disappointed - it's been thoroughly Victorianised and spoiled.

There is a Bedingfield family tree connection though which I need to follow up.

ALL SAINTS. In the chancel one and in the nave two very plain round-arched, slightly chamfered doorways, probably late C12. Dec W Tower, see the doorway and the bell-openings. Dec nave window with the motif of the four-petalled flower in the tracery. Simple early C16 brick porch. - PULPIT. Jacobean. - STAINED GLASS. A little in the tracery of the SE window. - PLATE. Paten 1628.

All saints (2)

STOKE ASH. It was probably an important Roman settlement, and fine Roman tiles found here are set in the wall of the tower over the doorway. Most of the church is 14th century work, but some parts of a Norman building are left in a small doorway and the stonework over the priest’s door. A medieval bell hangs in the embattled tower, and there is a tiny niche in the 15th century porch. The interior is plain with the original arcade and a timbered roof. The small pulpit is Jacobean, and the rood stairway is set in an unusual way in the side wall of the nave. A strange entry in the parish register reads:

Thomas Parr, aged 152, died 1635.
Widow Reade, aged 126, died 1635.

The double entry recalls the custom of entering in the church register (often the only means of record in a village) events not only of local but of wider interest. We know that Thomas Parr did not die here, and we know that he could not have been so old;
but the death of Widow Reade at a very great age (though we need hardly believe she was 126) would suggest the entry of the famous Thomas Parr who was buried in Westminster Abbey in the same year. Neither of the ages is authentic.


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