Friday, 18 January 2013

Runwell, Essex

I had high hopes for St Mary as there appeared to be no reason for it not to be open but sadly it was locked.

ST MARY. The best thing about the church is the two porches, timber structures of the 15. The side openings are arched and cusped. Over the gateway is a king-post. The main difference between N and S is that the one has quatrefoils, the other trefoils in the spandrels of the arches. W tower with diagonal buttresses, battlements and a recessed spire. Higher stair turret. Nave and chancel (lengthened in 1907) in one. Double Hagioscope. S arcade of four bays with short circular piers and double-chamfered arches - the only reminder of the C13 in a church otherwise entirely Perp. - SCREEN. By W. F. Unsworth, 1909. - POOR-BOX. Oak, hollowed-out, iron-bound. - PLATE. Cup with band of ornament, and Paten, both of 1562. - MONUMENT. Brasses of Eustace Sulyard d. 1547 and wife d. 1587. Kneeling figures between pilasters carrying a pediment. - Mr Gunnis also mentions a signed tablet to Edward Sulyard, 1692, by Thomas Cartwright, jun.

St Mary (3)

RUNWELL. It stands on the low hills near the River Crouch. Its church tower is 15th century but the round columns of the arcades are from a church which was a place of pilgrimage in Thomas Becket’s day. The timbering of the porches is enriched with Tudor roses, and the name of one of the benefactors, John Talbot, is on a beam. One of the doors is original, hinges and all, and on the inside is a curious burnt mark looking as if it had been made by a red-hot hand; the old folk will tell you that it is the mark of the devil’s hand when he was shut in the church by an ancient priest. On the chancel walls are brasses of Eustace Sulyard and his wife in rufif, facing each other over a prayer desk, and there are other monuments to the Sulyards, the last of the line being Sir Edmund, who was buried here in 1692. They lived at Fleming’s, a farm with a lovely Elizabethan wing still standing. There is a poor-box hollowed out from a block of oak, yellow flowers in medieval glass, and a scratch sundial saved from the earlier church. In a chapel is a vividly coloured oak statue of the Madonna.

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