The Essex Churches Site

 

THE ESSEX CHURCHES SITE

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St John the Baptist, Danbury

Danbury

 

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.


I sat in Chelmsford Cathedral for a while. What a lovely church it is. What has a town like Chelmsford done to deserve it? I wish it were in Ipswich. I'd arranged to meet my friend John near the cathedral at 10.30, although I fooled him at first by standing on the wrong corner. Eventually the conundrum was solved (how did we manage before mobile phones?) and we headed east as it began to rain, towards Danbury.

Open. Rather an austere exterior, set at the highest point of its little town, with a tall spire and a 19th Century south aisle remarkable for the fact that it is entirely built out of puddingstone, obviously dredged from the nearby Blackwater. The weeping rain did little to improve its aspect. But the signs were good: One at the gate, a full three feet high, says Church always open in daylight hours<, and at the west doors, where you go in, a metal sign bolted to the door reads This Church is Open Every Day - Please Come in. inside the porch under the tower it said You are always welcome here. Okay, okay, I thought, I get the message. Don't overdo it!

The star here is the wide range of bench ends. There are good medieval ones in the East Anglian style, and (dare I say it?) even better ones from Scott's 19th Century restoration, and others made by villagers through into the 1930s, depicting the usual traditional subjects, but also local girl guides, owls, elephants, sphinxes and so on. All jolly good.

There are three wooden 13th century effigies of knights, though not as impressive as those at Little Horkesley, and a beautiful relief of the Annunciation from the 1920s. Carl Edwards' 1955 east window for Powell and Sons is full of sapphire and emerald light, and very successful, showing that the workshop could still produce the best after some dodgy moments between the wars.

The otherwise dull 19th century restoration is a bit overwhelming, but it does help these jewels stand out. I liked it a lot.

Simon Knott, February 2013

               

 

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home - index - latest - e-mail
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Norfolk churches - Suffolk churches
www.simonknott.co.uk