Monday, 18 February 2013

Ickworth, Suffolk

I had given up on St Mary regarding it as an inaccessible church for the simple reason that, unlike at Wimpole in Cambridgeshire, you cannot visit unless you pay to enter the grounds of Ickworth - however having discovered you can visit the gardens for as little as £3.10 a re-visit is on the cards, I'd assumed, this being a National Trust property, entry would a lot pricier for very little return.

Unlike Wimpole, which is still a working church and thus kept accessible, St Mary was made redundant in 1970 and has, seemingly, been slowly dying ever since. Simon Knott's entry can be found here.

UPDATE: St Mary is currently being extensively restored and it is hoped that it will be open to the public this summer. So a re-visit re-visit is on the cards. Details of the restoration project can be found here.

ST MARY. In the park of the house, a considerable distance from this and anything else. Stuccoed W tower of 1833 in the lancet style. In the porch head of a Norman window with saltire-cross decoration. C13 chancel of knapped flint. On the E side three stepped lancet windows and an oculus over. Double-chamfered reveals. Slit lancets all along the S side. Early C14 N aisle. Three-light intersected windows with cusping. The S aisle is of 1833. - WALL PAINTING. S of the E window. A whole-length figure, probably the angel of the Annunciation. Early C14. - STAINED GLASS. Mostly Flemish roundels. - PLATE. All silver-gilt: Flagon 1697; Almsdish 1758; French Paten C18; Cup 1810.

St Mary (1)

....... In this lovely setting stands the church, whose 700-year-old chancel and 600-year-old nave are under one fine roof. The tower, like the hall itself, is 18th century. The interior has much beautiful modern oak, and among the old possessions of the church are a three-decker pulpit, a tiny window which was once a peephole, a double piscina unusually placed in the angle of a nave window, and a medallion of old glass. On the gallery wall are the royal arms in needlework, and in the chancel is an old wall-painting of Gabriel.

But it is the memories of the Herveys which make the greatest appeal in this place. The fine east window has a Jesse Tree in glass as a tribute to the Marquess of Bristol who died in 1911, and there are verses by Horace Walpole on the gravestone of Lady Mary Hervey, whose praises were sung by Pope and Gay and the immortal Voltaire. Under the painted roof of the south aisle is a beautiful marble tablet to those of the family buried in the vault. More than a score of them lie here, many with memorial stones, a family record stretching back to the 15th century.

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