Saturday, 29 October 2016

Old Newton, Suffolk

My intention last week was to complete a long standing ambition to visit the remaining 11 Lavenham deanery churches and the wish list Chapel of St Nicholas at Gipping but over two days I added a further unintentional eight to the list. The first of which was St Mary.

An interesting font, a good Georgian gallery and a fine sedilia - a good, if run of the mill, start to the day which was picked up by finding, supposedly, Britain's oldest working clergyman's headstone.

ST MARY. The remaining medieval work is entirely Dec, with good tall two-light windows. The W tower has Y-tracery in the bell-openings and flushwork arcading on the battlements. To the l. and r. of the E window inside two ogee niches. - FONT. Octagonal. Against the stem four lions and four Wild Men. Against the bowl four lions and four angels. - BENCHES. At the back. Plain, c 17, with poppy-heads. - STAINED GLASS. Some in the heads of the nave N windows. - PLATE. Cup c. 1680.

Font (1)

From the gallery

Edward George Falconer known as Britain's oldest working clergyman (1)

OLD NEWTON. Its ivied church, screened by a row of stately sycamores, is 600 years old. Here are one or two carved bench-ends, a few fragments of ancient glass, and a splendid old font. On its bowl are angels and symbols of the Evangelists, while eight faces peep out below and four dilapidated lions with headless wild men clad in leaves sit round the base. At this font two clever men were baptised, a mathematician and a philosopher. John Mole, born here in 1743, was the son of a farm labourer. His only schooling was at his mother's knee, but soon he was to astonish all his friends with his marvellous calculating powers and to make a name for himself as the author of two books on algebra. John Bridges, born here nearly a century later, was the son of the vicar, and in turn brilliant scholar, doctor, lecturer, and writer, but is best remembered as one of the leaders of the modern system of philosophy called Positivism.

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