Monday, 18 February 2013

Denham nr Eye, Suffolk

Having realised I was in the wrong place I decided to press on to St John the Baptist nevertheless, after all I was where I was so I might as well carry on.

St John is small and remote, one might even say isolated, so I was amazed, and delighted, to find it open. Towerless with a huge bricked up arch in the south nave wall, which implies that this was once a much larger building - apparently there was once a college here -  and a rather austere interior but altogether charming. Of note are the CIR arms and the unknown effigy, both Pevsner and Mee mention the Bedingfield palimpset brass but I could see no sign of it.

ST JOHN BAPTIST. The W tower exists no longer. Dec chancel, see the S doorway. Perp nave. Much brick repair. The N chapel of one bay has also been demolished. The arch is still visible. - MISERICORDS. The centres in every case hacked off. - STAINED GLASS. In the W window one angel. - MONUMENTS. Excellent late C13 effigy of a Lady wearing a wimple. She is holding her heart in her hands. Two angels by her head. - BRASS to A. Bedingfield d. 1574. Palimpsest of a Flemish brass to Jacobus Wegheschede, c. 1500. The rest is used for a brass of c. 1580 at Yealmpton, Devon.


Unknown C13th lady (1)

CIR arms

DENHAM. It is near Eye and has signs of an ancient past; it is thought there was once a college here connected with Home Abbey little more than a mile away. A moated farm by the church is still called College Farm, and six misereres in the chancel were probably the stalls of the brethren. The built-up arch of a transept and the foundations of a tower speak of a more imposing building. Outside, below the east window, is a Latin inscription in worn lettering saying that “William de Kirkesby, Prior of Norwich, placed me here, on whose soul God have mercy.”

There was a Norman church on the site, but most of the present building is left from the 14th century. Of that period are the fine windows of the chancel. The miserere carvings are much defaced. A tiny angel and a fleur-de-lys, pale and delicate, are fragments of the early glass of the west window. Here lie many of the Bedingfields, in a chapel of which the arch remains. There is a nameless figure on a tomb, and a palimpsest brass in the chancel has on one side a portrait of Anthony Bedingfield in ruff and gown, and on the other a Flemish inscription of 1500, and part of three figures. There is a pathetic interest about the nameless stone figure of a girl in a recess of the nave. A wreath holds in the folds of her veil, angels support her head, and the small hands are clasped over a reliquary.

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