The Essex Churches Site

 

THE ESSEX CHURCHES SITE

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St Mary, Great Canfield

Great Canfield

 

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 cycled up through High Roding village. Despite the name, I hadn't realised just how high I was, but as I turned back towards the forest I descended steeply for several miles to the very pretty village of Great Canfield with its church. Open. A typical Essex large church, no aisles but a broad-shouldered nave under a wooden tower and spire. I had no idea what to expect, but this was by far the best church of the day. The south doorway is a fabulous early Norman thing with carvings of men being pecked by birds and rows of swastikas. Inside, you turn to the east and are rewarded with Essex's finest 13th Century moment. Through the grand late Norman chancel arch is a chancel with arcaded Norman windows, and in the middle of them a superb wall painting of the Blessed Virgin and child, predating Brent Eleigh or Little Wenham. It was discovered in the 19th Century when the vast Wiseman memorial (now on the south wall) was moved out of the chancel. It must date from about 1250.

The church has good modern glass, some by Farrar Bell. Perhaps the greatest rarity is one of the many brasses, which dates the death as 'in the fifth year of the reign of King Philip and Queen Mary', a reminder of the extent to which the late medieval period is still seen through the eyes of Protestant triumphalism - how on earth did that inscription survive the puritan onslaught? All in all, a super church I look forward to revisiting. And then I was heading deep into the forest, my route under a canopy of beech and chestnut trees, the best cycling of the day.

Simon Knott, May 2014

               

 

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