Friday, 5 October 2018

Shelland Church

A very small church in an extremely small village.

Shelland, with only 10 houses,  is not far from Stowmarket but feels like the middle of nowhere except that nowadays the main A14 is only a couple of miles away and you can  hear the traffic on the concrete road surface.
The church was built as a private church in 1767, on the site of an older building. It was  privately owned until 1936 and the land it stands on is still privately owned.
The church may be small but it is unusual as it has a barrel organ instead of a usual organ, the only one in a church in regular use and dating from 1801. It plays 36 different tunes and is activated by a person turning a crank handle.
It is painted inside in pale pastel colours and  it is also only one of 6 churches in the country dedicated to King Charles the Martyr. ( Charles I)

It was lovely to see the Harvest Festival fruit and flowers (and jars of jam) still around the church after their  Harvest service a couple of Sundays earlier.

The high sided box pews,

with their doors to get in date from 1767 and the vicar wouldn't have been able to see who was in the church

 Unless he climbed up into the triple-decker pulpit!

According to the Suffolk churches book the alter rail has closely packed balusters to prevent dogs getting into the sanctuary. Who knew?

The font is octagonal made of limestone, covered with carvings of leaves and dating from the C14 is the only thing saved from the original medieval church.
With a population of just 39 at the 2001 census I doubt many children have been christened there recently. 
Ancient Yew trees make an arch over the path into the church yard

A curious little church.

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  1. Seems very well cared for inside and it’s amazing thatvit is still open.

  2. What a lovely little church and it's lovely to read that it's still in use. I don't think I've ever seen pew boxes like that before. I wonder if you could catch a sneaky 40 winks in them without the vicar noticing! xx

  3. Small country churches are my favourites. This one looks spick and span, no doubt thanks to generations of Mrs Mopps! (Or is that too sexist?) I particularly like that last photograph of the big old yew trees and the gates.

  4. What a lovely little church - never heard of a dedication to Charles I before, and amazing that the box pews have survived. The font is beautiful too and obviously a rare survivor.

  5. I think the word 'cute' can be used here. I'm pleased to see they haven't replaced the old pews with lower ones. My old childhood village church replaced theirs in about 1953; my father bought all the old ones and had some sheds built from them.

  6. The church is lovely and so well looked after. The church I use to worship in it had an avenue of Yew trees.

    Hazel c uk

  7. Considering how cold it must have been in that lovingly preserved church, I am sure the high-boxed pews were appreciated to keep out the draughts (and perhaps to keep the dogs in).

  8. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to see this little gem of a church .

  9. What a find ---- I was interested in the high boxed pews ---I'd forgotten about the harvest offerings at this time of the year ---and in thinking about it what happens to the offerings? Ae they given to a charity at some point. One thing I remember from living in Kent was watching a man creating neat tightly woven decorations from woven corn stalks when it was harvest time. Jean/Winnipeg

  10. Friends of ours took us to see a fresco in a tiny Suffolk church in Wenhaston. It was called The Doom and was intriguing.

  11. What a beauty, looks so well loved so it is a joy to see it is still having services.

  12. Very interesting church with the boxed pews. I must say that they don’t look very comfortable, however.

    You are lucky that most of the Suffolk churches are unlocked. (I think there was one you visited that was locked but someone nearby had the key.)

  13. It looks intriguing and well loved. I love it.

  14. What an enchanting church.My pre-restoration history is a little rough, did Charles 1 hide in Suffolk during his time away from London? I just got a book for my Kindle called Behind the Throne, A Domestic History of the British Royal Household, by Adrian Tinniswood and it's fascinating. Perhaps your library will stock it, really good read.

  15. What a charming little church! I love the history of it and the unique colors inside. Thank you for sharing your adventures with us. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  16. What a beautiful old church, Sue. I love visiting old churches as there is just something so lovely and interesting about them. Thanks for sharing your photos ... it's too far to come and see it myself from down under here in Australia. Meg:)