Friday, 12 October 2018

St John the Baptist Church, Saxmundham



Now this church is quite a surprise.
The outside looks just the same  as it always has but inside it's been recently modernised.

Gone are the pews, replaced by comfy chairs. It's all white and bright, with  glass doors inside the old wooden entrance doors and more glass doors and walls around  the side chapel.


And in the back corner a brand new kitchen area, usually squashed into a vestry or side room this looks quite strange but useful -  as a church should be.



The feature that gets the church into the 100 treasures book is outside in the churchyard.
It's this gravestone with  built in sundial. Each side has this rectangle recess and the angle of the  sun should cast a shadow which marks the time.  The sun was shining but neither side was casting a shadow that I could see and there were no markings that I could see either. The board in the first photo says that the upper edge points to the North Star.


The hammer beam roof was revealed in 1932 when a plaster ceiling was removed,compared to some I've seen it is very plain.


The font dates from C15 and has lions and woodwoses (wild men) around the shaft  and shields around the bowl.


The glass ovals in the window below date from C17 and are believed to come from Innsbruck in Austria, they depict saints and secular scenes

I think this is the first lectern with a brass eagle that I've seen in any churches so far, he is rather magnificent.

The boards inside and outside the church help to explain more about the history of this ancient building which has undergone restoration many times through the years.



Living as we did just a couple of miles from Saxmundham I've been up and down the hill passing this church hundreds of times. For many years it had a sign " Welcome to our church" and every time I went by I thought it ought to say "Welcome to YOUR church". I'm pleased to say that someone must have heard me! because the new sign at the bottom of the path now just says in huge letters WELCOME.

Back Tomorrow
Sue







21 comments:

  1. IT wonderful to see a church moving on with the times! I bet some of that was not popular with all in the parish!! One of the issues that the church in our village came up against was the planning and listing laws. It is often not possible to build anything such as a kitchen on. Our village church needed a toilet and eventually had to put it actually in the church.
    On the pews I think if you go back far enough most churches were empty spaces with no fixed seating or just some benches. Chairs are so much more flexible. They can be paced in different formations depending on the nature of the service. Also a great way of getting away from people claiming a pew as 'their's'.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, you are right about churches being empty spaces and I like to see pews replaced. The chapel where Col's Dad was involved with had to have all wood taken out due to dry rot and chairs are so versatile for other events

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  2. Another interest church and looks so inviting.
    St.John st Baptism was the name of the church in Isleworth, Middlesex that I was brought up in until I was married and moved away I still have a friend who worships at the church.
    Have a nice weekend Sue.
    Hazel c uk

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    Replies
    1. So many churches I've been to have been dedicated to St Mary, nice to see a different name

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  3. Churches are becoming part of the community again, they have wonderful spaces, which can and should be used. Our local churches put on more events to get people to visit who do not attend on Sunday service.

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    Replies
    1. A church that stands empty for 6 days a week seems a waste of space

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  4. What a practical solution to church seating AND a decent kitchen for the functions. The glass windows are wonderful but the Woodwoses are my favourites!

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    Replies
    1. I walked in and didn't notice the kitchen bit at first and then thought " goodness, that's different"

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  5. It looks so light and bright but still keeping all the old treasured original parts which is nice to merge the two. Our church took out the pews years ago but in some ways I missed them as when my two girls were little I could sit at the end by the aisle and 'trap' them in and they could kneel down and use the pew bench to put their colouring books on to draw until they went out to Sunday School!

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    Replies
    1. when I was young and went to a baptist chapel we would try and slide along the pews ( not during the service!)

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  6. It looks lovely and very comfortable. I love a church that continues to create its own history for the future.
    xx

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    Replies
    1. Exactly, - no good being stuck in the past

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  7. Replies
    1. I was so surprised when I walked in at how light and homely it looked - very friendly

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  8. Not a fan of that church.....I love the smell of old wood and musty stones...and where are the PEWS???? Sold to an antique dealer?????

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  9. I am a fan of pews but realistically they are not comfortable. The stained glass is a joy, beautiful.

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  12. I love the classy and neat renovations to this church. It appeals to the neat freak that I sometimes am. And the thought of sitting through a sermon in a comfortable chair is much more appealing than shuffling on a numb bum on a cold, hard pew.

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  13. There was a brass eagle lectern in St Michael and All Angels at Stourport-on-Severn, Worcestershire when I was little. The church blew down in a gale. I am unsure what happened to the Eagle. Mum and I used to polish it when I was about 5.

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