Wednesday, 27 February 2019

The "Cathedral" of the Marshes

Some churches are hidden away in villages but Blythburgh Holy Trinity stands huge,  high and proud on the edge of the Blyth estuary, just off the A12. It is often called The Cathedral of the marshes .

There is so much about this church on the SUFFOLK CHURCHES website and it would be impossible to copy the whole story of the church here. So do go and look if you are interested. Or even better, come to Suffolk and see it for real!

People used to think this medieval church was so big because Blythburgh was once a larger village. But Blythburgh has always been a small village and this church was built close to a Priory with plenty of money available at the time given by the pious. The size of the village meant that virtually no restoration was done between the 16C and the 19C. The roof was so bad that people had to take umbrellas and the church was actually ordered to be closed in the 1880s. It has taken a whole century for the church to be slowly restored to how it is today.

Enter through the huge porch which has a chapel in the little room above it.

You step into a huge open area, where the sun was shining on the old uneven brick floor


This fellow is the reason for this church  being featured in the 100 treasures book he is  Jack-o-the-clock. Jacks used to ring a bell on the hour and are quite rare, there are just two in Suffolk, the other is not far away at Southwold. Now he is just used at the beginning of services. He is wearing armour from the mid 1500's but may date from later in the 1680's.

The roof is amazing and original and somehow escaped having all the angels removed and the stencilling should have also been removed during Puritan times.



The choir stalls have carvings of saints on their fronts, they are a mystery because although they've been in the church for several centuries they seem too good for a rural church


The brasses that should have marked these tombs were probably stolen way back in the 18th or 19th century


There is  a strange bronze Beast of Burden Sculpture under the east window by Laurence Edwards, a sculptor based in Suffolk




The font has had all the carvings removed at some time. It had already been damaged when the original steeple fell on it in 1577







More amazingly good carvings on all the bench ends





I bought a postcard to show the reflection of the church on the estuary water when it is all lit up at night


And then of course I still have the print that we bought for Col's birthday several years ago. It was originally used to advertise the area in train carriages during  the 1920s and 30's.



Don't forget the link at the beginning of this post to see dozens more photos of the church and lots about the history.

Back Tomorrow
Sue







24 comments:

  1. What an incredible building, so beautiful and so much detail! Thank goodness it was saved and restored.

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  2. THat's an amazing church, so unmodernised and so fascinating. It's so close to Southwold that it's now top of my list of Things To Do on holiday! Thank you so much for this.
    xx

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  3. I visited with Mike and two grandchildren about 5 years ago. One of the most impressive churches I have ever been in. The flying angels in the beams are super. Great photos Sue.

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  4. Another good find, very interesting.

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  5. You went a fair way to visit this church did you not. I have been. It is quite a surprise out in the middle on nowhere.

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    1. Just up the A12 from visiting Daughter in leiston and home via Yoxford antiques centre where everything is very expensive.
      I'm running out of local churches in the 100 churches book

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    2. No need to stick to the churches in that book as there are many churches in Suffolk that rare even more interesting than the ones in that book.
      Pru

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    3. There are over 700 churches in Suffolk so the plan was to use the 100 treasures book to follow for blog posts. It helps me to know what to look for in each church.

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  6. What an amazing church and beautiful pictures. My ancestors are from Suffolk and I wonder if they went to that church. So majestic and grand and what a piece of history. If only the stones could speak.

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  7. Thank you Sue. I find it is always interesting to see the churches. Looks like it's going to be and ther nice day. It's Knit and Natter day today and we have somebody to talk and show us about spinning and give us a go it should be interesting.
    Hazel c uk

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  8. Gorgeous church, from the outside it looked like it was topped with a lace doily.

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  9. Beautiful location. Amazing work of all the artisans involved over the centuries...especially those angels, stenciling and other carvings.

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  10. Thank you for sharing this beauty. It's quite a work of art through out. I hope you have many more churches to share. I really enjoy reading your blog!

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    1. Just read your comment above about running out of local churches. Too bad.

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    2. Just means travelling specially to see the churches rather than calling in on the way somewhere else

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  11. Lovely! I love Jack-o-the-clock. He's a very interesting character. Lovely photos.

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  12. What a wonderful tour you took u on a stunning church with so much to look at.

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  13. An amazing find. Is there a bricked up window? Or is it not.

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    1. Yes, although don't think there is a mention of it on the website.

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  14. I enjoyed your post as I have driven by this church many, many times. I used to go the White Hart pub in my twenties, has changed a lot since then.

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  15. This has to be my favorite so far of all the churches you've shown. Seems somehow so bright and welcoming. I love the old brick floors and the amazing roof and stenciling. Thank you for sharing!

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  16. What a beautiful church!! I love the openness and the light.

    God bless.

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  17. Thanks on your marvelous posting! I seriously enjoyed reading it, you happen to be a great author.I will be sure to bookmark your post and definitely will come back someday. I want to encourage you to ultimately continue your great work, have a nice weekend!
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