Sunday, 22 July 2012

Borley, Essex

Having previously researched Borley church (as noted in my Liston entry its dedication is unknown) I knew that it was kept locked and that no keyholder would be listed. This is because, somewhat odd as it may seem, the church is reputed to be Britain's most haunted church and as a consequence they shun the public.

The church is surrounded with yew topiary and sits in a beautiful spot - the view across the Stour valley towards Long Melford is stunning.

CHURCH (Dedication unknown). A topiary walk to the porch is the most notable feature of the church. The nave may be C11, see the sw quoin. The chancel and the W tower are Late Perp, the tower with thin diagonal buttresses and stepped battlements. - MONUMENTS. Sir Edward Waldegrave d. 1561 and wife d. 1599. Tomb-chest with recumbent effigies under a six-poster. The columns have shaft-rings. Straight top with big achievement. - Magdala Southcote d. 1592; with big kneeling figure; not good. - Black marble floor slab to Humphrey Burrough d. 1757, rector of Borley and Gainsborough’s uncle.

Dedication unknown (1)

Across to Long Melford

BORLEY. Its people look across the Stour valley into Suffolk from the churchyard, which has some remarkable clipped yews, like umbrellas with round frills and huge round bases. The church tower, like the chancel and the porch, is Tudor, but the
thick south wall of the nave may be 400 years older. There is a bell old enough to have rung for the defeat of the Armada, a 17th century doorway made of wood, a 15th century nave roof with embattled wall-plates, and a little bench with two poppyheads carved 500 years ago. In the chancel we see Magdala Southcote of 1598 kneeling at a desk, and in the nave is the great canopied tomb, 14 feet high, of Sir Edward Waldegrave and his wife Frances, who outlived him by 38 years. At her feet sits a squirrel with its paws to its mouth, and kneeling round the tomb are three sons and three daughters. The canopy rises on six Corinthian columns. Sir Edward was a Tudor Master of the Wardrobe. As an officer of Mary Tudor’s household he was put in the Tower in King Edward’s reign for refusing to prevent the princess from celebrating mass, but was set free on account of his health. On Mary’s coming to the throne he continued to serve her but objected to her marriage with Philip of Spain, so that his feelings were overcome by a pension of 500 crowns. On the accession of Queen Elizabeth he was thrown into the Tower again for allowing mass to be said in his house; and in the Tower he died, being buried in the chapel.

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