Thursday, 26 July 2012

East Donyland, Essex

St Lawrence is one of the more extraordinary churches I've visited so far. Victorian built it is an octagonal brick building and looks more like a baptist meeting hall or a water tower than a church. Much against my better judgement I found myself rather liking its eccentricity. Locked of course.

ST LAWRENCE. 1838 by William Mason of Ipswich. Quite remarkably original. An  octagonal church of white brick, in the lancet style. Groups of five stepped lancets on three sides, entrances on two others, and three lancets above the altar. - MONUMENT. Elizabeth Marshall D. 1613. Frontally seated woman, full-length, flanked by obelisks. Below in the ‘predella’ one kneeling daughter and two babies in cradles. Long inscription which reads as follows:

Clotho: In tender armes thy tickle rocke I beare
Wherin consists of life this hemispher
Frayle flyinge fadeinge fickle sliperye
Certaine in nothing but uncertaintye

Lachesis: From of thy rocke her slender thred I pull
When scarce begun but yt my spoole is full
Then tyme begetts bringes forth & with her haste
Makes after tyme tymes former workes to waste

Atropos: I with my knife have cutt that thred in twayne
And loosde that knott not to be knitt agayne
What two wer one my knife hath both opposd
In heaven her soule in earth her corpes inclosd.

The verses are attributed to Gilbert Longe, then vicar of East Donyland.

St Lawrence (3)

EAST DONYLAND. It is an old village running down a slope to the compact little hamlet of Rowhedge on the tide-swept banks of the River Colne. Ships are built on its quay, and small yachts moored in its creeks. But in this old place is no ancient church, only a modern one built of brick, its pews curving on an octagonal floor so that it looks like a chapter house. From the church that has vanished comes the brass portrait of Nicholas Marshall and his wife of Charles Stuart’s day; we are told of his wife that she surrendered her soul "with alacrity of spirit." A neighbour they must have known, Elizabeth Marshall, sits with hand upraised expounding from a book, a sculpture in marble.


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