Sunday, April 12, 2009
A Suffolk Summer Part Two
This lovely Elizabethan timber framed farmhouse caught my eye as I drove into Brent Eleigh. For some reason it looked vaguely familiar.
This is the reason why! One of my favourite artists is A R Quinton and in the early 1900s he travelled all round England painting local scenes which were published as postcards by the firm of J.Salmon Ltd. I like his work because he paints the kind of scenes that appeal to me and he has left a pictorial record of the England that existed before the advent of the car. The scene that appealed to me obviously appealed to Alfred Quinton as well and the wonderful thing is that apart from the fact that the lane has a modern tarmac surface the scene is virtually unchanged a hundred years later. Alas the lovely working horses and the geese are no longer there but the green is there and even better is what is not there - no modern buildings have appeared.
St Mary's Church is tucked away up a long quiet lane and hidden away behind trees. It is fortunate in having escaped a Victorian 'restoration' and therefore the outside looks now pretty much as it did when it was built around 1400.
Inside it still has the old box pews and in the chancel behind the altar are some rather special medieval wall paintings. They were whitewashed over at the Reformation and rediscovered in 1960 and are among the most important in England.
This is 14th century and was designed as an altarpiece, it depicts the Crucifixion with the Virgin Mary and St John standing on either side. Clicking on the photo will enlarge it.
This is a detail from the painting on the south side of the altar and shows the priest who was its donor. This painting is late 13th century. Clicking to enlarge this will make the priest's face very clear - a little window into the past.
The Colmans were Lords of the Manor until the male line died out in 1739.
The classic view of Kersey said to be the prettiest village in Suffolk. It shows the little River Brett flowing across the road and the church at the top of the hill. You may be relieved to know that there are no interior photographs as this was the only church I came cross in Suffolk that was actually locked! Although John Appleby (see Part One) doesn't seem to have visited Brent Eleigh he did go to Kersey and was rather disappointed by it though he did like the church which, unlike me,he did get to see the inside of!
Kersey is a typical linear village laid out mostly along one long main street. This is looking from the watersplash in the opposite direction to the church.
I think this cottage is just beautiful with it's pink walls, thatched roof and pretty cottage garden.
The medieval Bell Inn - it has stood here for 700 years and watched all the joys and sorrows of village life. What stories it must have locked in its memory.
Another of Kersey's beautiful old houses.
I'm rather keen on weather vanes and always photograph them if I see attractive or unusual ones.
A final view of Kersey. These lovely houses are on a lane off the main street at the top of the hill near the church.
Hadleigh is a small Suffolk town with a very long history, it was settled first of all in the 5th and 6th centuries by Angles and Friesians from across the North Sea and a century or two later the Vikings made an appearance and also eventually settled in the area though not before they'd done a little raiding and plundering first! Guthrum, the Viking leader who was defeated in battle by Alfred the Great, was converted to Christianity and became the King of what is now northern and eastern England. He died in Hadleigh and is supposedly buried in the church of St Mary pictured above. The present rather splendid church is 14th century but stands on the site of an older Saxon church which is where Guthrum would have been buried.
The 15th century Guildhall which is now a rather splendid venue for weddings. Hadleigh was another of the places visited by John Appleby, he had tea in a tea shop on the High St - now long gone I imagine. He considered Hadleigh to be 'the dullest place in Suffolk' which is perhaps a little harsh!
Some of the many fine old medieval buildings in Hadleigh.
Suffolk is full of lovely old lanes like this, you can see from the patches of grass growing in the middle of the road that there isn't a lot of traffic along here. Who knows where this leads - perhaps back into the past........