Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Stansfield, Suffolk

With no noticeboard, but lots of thieves beware signs, I had to Google All Saints to find its dedication and was unsurprised to find it locked. This is a shame as it's an attractive church, large and, if it follows the pattern of its immediate neighbours (Hawkedon & Denston), is probably rather interesting inside.

ALL SAINTS. Quite big; not in the village. Nave of c. 1300, W tower (with three niches round the W window) Dec. Chancel Dec. The side windows with tracery including the motif of the four-petalled flower. E end with two niches outside to the l. and r. of the window and a Piscina with ogee arch squeezed into the corner of the SE window.- PULPIT. Jacobean. - SCREEN. The base only. - CHEST. c 14; iron-bound. - STAINED GLASS. Fragments in the chancel. - PLATE. Elizabethan Cup and Cover; Patens 1666 and 1685.

All Saints

STANSFIELD. It wanders up to a hilltop church looking over the countryside through the trees. Most of the church is 500 years old, though the work of Norman builders is in its walls, and the chancel (still with its consecration crosses) is 14th century. The fine tower, 75 feet high, and the lofty nave both have old roofs. Some of the windows have a medley of ancient glass. There is a Jacobean pulpit, a rough old ironbound chest, and panels of the ancient screen. The screen has rare carving in its spandrels, lovely flowers, a pair of birds, and two smiling lions.

The village had a queer parson in the 18th century, Samuel Ogden, described by a clever contemporary as exhibiting "a black and scowling figure, a lowering visage, embrowed by the honours of a sable periwig." He preached brilliant sermons in a growling voice, peppered with epigrams which were probably not understood by anybody in his congregation. He mourned the death of George the Second in Latin, heralded the wedding of George the Third in English, and announced the birth of the Prince of Wales in Arabic, but with all his eccentricities he was a popular preacher, and Dr Johnson, who admired his solemnity, said of him that "he fought infidels with their own weapons."

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