The Essex Churches Site

 

THE ESSEX CHURCHES SITE

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St Barnabas, Alphamstone

Alphamstone

 

Click on the 'play' symbol in the second image to see all my photographs of this church as a slide show, then click on any image in the slideshow to see it large in a new page.

Alternatively, if you don't have flash enabled, you can go straight to the set for this church on flickr.


Buoyed up by Holy Innocents, Lamarsh, I headed on in sunshine up, up, into those oh-so hilly hills which ran like rivers towards Alphamstone. According to my map the two churches are less than a mile apart. Well, perhaps it was the hill, or the way the clouds were gathering and threatening, but it seemed a lot further than that. But still I headed on, out the other side of the village, until I reached the top road for Pebmarsh, and I knew that I had missed it.

And now the rain began to fall, big, icy drops. I turned back and headed into the village again, this time sure of where I was on the map, and there it was, exactly where it should be. How had I missed it? I had cycled right past it. By now it was raining heavily, so I tugged my bike up the steep churchyard under an avenue of limes and put it in the porch of the church.

Open. The moment I stepped inside I knew this was somewhere special. It was almost completely dark, thanks to the storm outside, but I could see candles flickering and the gleam of statues. here, the Anglo-catholic twilight sleeps on. The pews are replaced with cane chairs as at Kettlebaston, but there is none of that Ernest Geldart razzmatazz here - this is a simple village church, but with such a prayerful atmosphere. In the aisle there is a rood group which came from the chapel of the House of Mercy at nearby Great Maplestead, a 'home for fallen women' which was closed and demolished in the 1950s. There is a well-cared for and yet rough and ready atmosphere. A curiosity is that there are shuttered low side windows on both the north and south sides of the chancel, but I do not think they can be original - can they?

The rain lessened without stopping, and so I stepped outside to try and take the exteriors before the storm worsened again. This is a long aisled church with a wooden bell turret, which was very attractive. But the rain stopped, and the sun came out. I went back into the church and it was full of light, and I knew that in fact this was my favourite church of the day. By now the lanes were awash, and so I decided to call it a day and take the shortest route back to Bures station, but the sun seemed insistent, and so instead I headed on to Pebmarsh for just one more church, I told myself.

Simon Knott, October 2012

               

 

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home - index - latest - e-mail
links - small print - about this site
Norfolk churches - Suffolk churches
www.simonknott.co.uk