Monday, 20 August 2012

Brent Eleigh, Suffolk

As if to prove my point about Lavenham St Mary, the next church I visited, contained one of the best wallpaintings I've come across but also a slightly ludicrous, pompous monument to Edward Colman - vastly huge and really rather out of place.

This is a nice building with box pews, a nice Jacobean pulpit and the paintings - pretty much perfect.

ST MARY. Not big. Dec nave with Perp N windows. Perp W tower. - FONT. Octagonal Purbeck bowl, two blank pointed arches to each side. - FONT COVER. Jacobean, pretty. - PULPIT. Simple, Jacobean. - Box Pews. Some are Jacobean the majority C18. - BENCH END with poppy-head. - SCREEN to the SE chapel. Early C14 with shafts with capitals instead of mullions, and ogee arches. - SOUTH DOOR. A rare piece, early C14 with blank reticulated tracery. - REREDOS. Early Georgian, with fluted pilasters. - COMMUNI0N RAIL. Three-sided, with twisted balusters, Early Georgian. - PLATE. Cup and Paten of 1694. - MONUMENT. Edward Colman. By Thomas Dunn, 1743. Standing wall-monument. Reredos background with broken pediment. Semi-reclining figure in loose dress gesticulating towards us. Above a putto with a crown. Two more putti on the pediment.

The paintings were revealed shortly after this entry was made as noted by a footnote.


Edward Colman 1739 (1)

BRENT ELEIGH. It is a tiny old village in a glorious valley near Lavenham, to which it is linked by the motor road in the valley and the ancient grass-grown road along the ridge of the hill, an enchanting walk missed by the motorist. We remember the fields yellow with cowslips and the banks of the stream blue with forget-me-nots. Trees of all sorts creep up the hill, surrounding the 600-year-old church and its trim acre of grass-grown mounds. In a porch with charming unglazed windows an ancient door with long iron hinges and an ornamented handle opens on an old-world scene. The whole church is filled with high box-pews, the older ones carved with flowers, the great manor pew enclosed in two old screens. The pulpit with its graceful book-rest and the twisted rails running round three sides of the altar are Jacobean; the arcaded medieval font has a 17th century cover rather like an eight-legged stool. Lines of old timbering pattern the top of the walls. In the chancel is a massive wall-monument to "that good man Mr Edward Colman who died in 1739, last of an ancient family." He reclines under a canopy, wearing a curious floppy cap, three jolly cherubs watching over him.

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