Monday, 20 August 2012

Milden, Suffolk

Without doubt the best was saved for last on this trip - the glory that is St Peter. On first sight it didn't appear to be anything special with a bellcote instead of a tower but as you step into the porch your are confronted with the familiar zigzag Norman door and inside there's a light and spacious nave and chancel. Its simplicity reminded me strongly of Tilty. The font is also Norman as is the south nave lancet window and with no stained glass to impinge the light streams in. In the chancel lies a severely damaged monumental effigy to James Alington d.1627, who turns out to be in the family tree as he stems from the Horseheath branch, which was once much bigger and ornate:

A description of 1908 speaks of "A large mural monument of various kinds of marble, consisting of a naked and emaciated figure in a shroud of a man of full size, lying near the floor, just above him 'Via omnis camis'. Over this figure is a table, supported by two angels in front holding books in their hands. On the table is the recumbent figure of a man in armour . . ." then follows a description of the figure as seen today. The record continues, "He lies under a table arch the centre of which is supported by a naked boy. In these two arches are two tables of black marble with inscriptions. On each side of the arch are two purple pillars with gilt Corinthian capitals, and outside of these a pyramid, and beyond them a boy standing on a pedestal. Beneath that to the west is Labour, to the east Rest. Over the cornice which is straight, is a shield of arms in a circle under an open compass pediment, supported by Corinthian pillars, the outer ones of white, the inner ones dove coloured. On a strip of black marble under the arms is this: "Death hath added to the ornament of this place the blessed memorial of the right virtuous and learned gentleman."

ST PETER. Nave and chancel. The W tower was demolished as unsafe in 1827. Norman nave; see one S window and the S doorway with zigzag arch on plain imposts. The rest has lancet windows, much renewed and perhaps not reliable. (Good king-post roof. LG) - PULPIT. Jacobean. - (BENCHES. Dated 1685. LG) - PLATE.Cup c. 1600; Paten 1696; Paten 1783. - M0NUMENT. James Allington d. 1626. Excellent recumbent alabaster effigy. Handsome frames of the two inscription tablets. The surround is not in its original state.

Nave looking east

South door (1)

Organ pipes

MILDEN. We may come to its church at all seasons for a splendid view of the broad and fertile valley of the Brett, or in springtime to walk under a golden canopy of laburnum to a porch with roses climbing over it.

A Norman doorway with zigzag leads to a 13th century nave with old carved beams aloft. Here is a rough-hewn old font, a Jacobean panelled pulpit, and many 17th century pews for big and little folk. An alabaster figure of James Alington has lain under a canopy in the chancel for 300 years. He is in armour and baggy breeches, his head rather uncomfortably pillowed on books, his epitaph bedecked with fruit and emblems of mortality.

On a stone on the opposite wall is this interesting inscription:

In memory of Thomas Hawkins, his son Robert Hawkins, and his son’s son George Faulkner Hawkins, who each in unbroken succession between 1814 and 1926 served as warden of this church. One generation shall praise your works unto another.

It is a fine tribute to a grand record of service spanning 112 years.

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