Thursday, 4 July 2013

Little Bradley, Suffolk

I've finally tracked down the elusive All Saints and have to say it was worth the wait. The most westerly of Suffolk's round tower churches it also has an octagonal upper stage and is stunningly located in the middle of nowhere which is what made it so hard to find.

Unfortunately it's locked with no keyholder listed but is open for Ride and Stride so I may re-visit in September since the interior sounds fascinating.

ALL SAINTS. The nave and the W part of the chancel in their masonry probably Anglo-Saxon, see the long-and-short work at the NW and SW angles. This was added to a pre-existing, that is doubtless Anglo-Saxon, round tower. Small doorway on simple imposts. The tower top Perp and octagonal. Early Norman E extension of the chancel with E and N windows. Norman probably also the undecorated S doorway. (This S porch incorporates some c14 woodwork. LG3) - PULPIT. With C18 tester. - PLATE. Cup 1789. - MONUMENTS. Three brasses: Civilian and wife, c. 1520 (chancel N wall); headless Knight, 27 in. figure, probably Thomas Knighton, 1530 (chancel S wall); John Daye, the printer, d. 1584, and wife (above the Civilian). - Monument to Richard Lehunte d. 1540 and his wife d. 1558. Kneeling figures. Back wall with short columns l. and r. and above two blank arches.

All Saints (2)

LITTLE BRADLEY. The cluster of cottages and a farmhouse share the quiet of a country lane, and amid finely wooded fields stands the little church, its walls and chancel arch Norman, the top of its tower medieval.

On the chancel wall is a figure of Richard Le Hunt, kneeling here in his armour since 1540, with his headless family. There are many brasses to folk who were baptised long ago at the big 14th century font. An early 16th century Underhill kneels with his wife, and Thomas Knighton, who must have known them both, is near, armoured but headless, with two sons and a daughter. Close by are portraits of two early 17th century families, John Le Hunt with his wife Jane Colte, her shield showing three prancing colts; and Thomas Soame kneeling with his five sons, looking at his wife and two daughters.

John Daye the printer is also here kneeling with his wife, six sons, and five daughters, two babies in swaddling clothes lying under a table. In 1584, when Daye’s work was done, they laid him here, and in 1880 the Stationers Company, of which he had been Master 300 years before, set up a window in his honour. In it are three great martyrs, Andrew, Stephen, and Paul, to remind us that this man gave to the world the immortal Book of Martyrs.

Daye was one of the first to print music, and produced the first English Church Book with tunes accompanying the words. He lodged John Foxe in his house and printed the first English edition of his Book of Martyrs. Archbishop Parker, in his great task of establishing the Protestant faith, found Daye invaluable. The Primate desired a reproduction of the works of the old Saxon Abbot Alfric in order to prove the independence of the Church of our ancestors from dictation by Rome; and Daye cut a beautiful fount of Saxon type and printed Alfric in facsimile. He printed Queen Elizabeth’s prayer book in six languages.

He was so esteemed at Court that he was never in difliculty over licences for his printing; indeed, so numerous were the books for which he was licensed that other stationers and printers petitioned Elizabeth on the matter, whereupon Daye voluntarily surrendered 36 copyrights for the benefit of the poor of the Stationers Company.

He was twice married, and was the father of 13 children by each wife. He died in Essex in July 1584, and was brought here for burial.

1 comment:

  1. David
    So sorry you couldn't get in. If you are this way again before September I can easily tell you where to get hold of the key. mauvesin at hotmail com
    Little Bradley local historian