Friday, 13 September 2019

First for Thelma followed by Hoo.....the shortest village name in Suffolk

Before I get onto Hoo church I have to send condolences, love and ((Hugs)) to Thelma at North Stoke Blog whose partner Paul has passed away this week. Wishing you strength to get through the next few weeks of form filling and phoning.

I've lived in East Suffolk all my life but I had to look on a map to find out how to get to Hoo.

A very unusual dedication........St Eustachius?

This is what Simon Knott says on the Suffolk Churches website

 The dedication is unique, but I am afraid that it is not authentic. The medieval dedication may have been to St Eustace, or it may have been that there was a shrine altar to that minor saint here. After the Reformation, church dedications fell into disuse. But the Enlightenment of the 18th century saw a renewed interest in history. The modern dedication arises from a double (possibly triple) error of those days. Firstly, a misreading of 'St Eustace' by the antiquarian Browne Willis, working in the records office at Norwich Cathedral in the 1720s, and a confusion by him of Hoo in Suffolk with Hoe in Norfolk, where the medieval church was dedicated to St Andrew. He may have missed the actual dedication completely, and many of these documents are now lost. So, he conflated the two Saints into an undeniably attractive and interesting combination. When the dedications of Anglican parish churches were restored to them through the enthusiasm of the Oxford Movement in the 19th century, this was based on the work of these well-meaning but inaccurate antiquarians; Willis had published his results as Parochiale Anglicanuum in 1733. Some errors were corrected by the 1780s, when Bacon's Liber Regis was published. But not this one.

It's been very unusual to find anyone in a church when I've visited, especially the tiny village churches, but here I found an elderly lady doing some cleaning before their twice-a-month service.
So it was nice to chat about why I was there and find out a bit about the village........One of the smallest populations in Suffolk - about 20 people. The church was nearly closed in the 1970's but managed to hang on, it's very plain and simple but obviously well loved. The lady said they get lots of visitors.

Red brick tower dating from the C16

 The reason this church get a mention in the 100 treasures book is due to the very old.....C17 and C18, chancel furnishings. This is where the congregation would "Draw near with faith" to receive the Holy Communion. The communion rails protecting the sacred space.

 These paintings fixed to the pulpit are modern icons, gifted to the church by a Greek family who have had the name Eustachius in their family for 100s of years.
 First the C2 Roman soldier martyr.

 And the more well known St Andrew

 This amazing  solid iron bound chest dating back to the C13 is now used by the church wardens to store the vases and Christmas decorations. The lady told me she can only just manage to lift the lid.

A Tudor rose on the font dating to C15 with its new font cover, which was given in memory of a villager, not many years ago and replacing an old metal cover, which now stands by the wall.

Under the Victorian boarding are six old tie beams. On one is a  brass plaque with the date 1595. It is thought that the date is carved on one of the beams, now hidden.

 A very simple church, no coloured glass, no fancy fittings. The pews are Victorian and the pulpit from the 1700's. The lady dusting said she has to make sure to dust the pulpit because although the vicars or preachers rarely use it, one day it was used and as everyone looked at the vicar they could see the sun shining on cobwebs under the bible stand!

I only noticed the basket of courgettes when I loaded the photo onto here......wonder if it was ready for a harvest festival?

Back Tomorrow


  1. Thank you for that Sue, yesterday was indeed filled with phone calls and today a round of office visiting. Understanding the pain that goes with losing someone you love is shared by us all. And I do appreciate the thought. X

  2. Thoughts and prayers with Thelma at this sad time

  3. I enjoy reading Thelma's postings, but was never able to comment. So I am sending her my sympathies and condolence through your blog. So quick and so sad.

    Churches can be awesome with their ornate carvings and stained glass windows, but they don't have to be like that if all you want to do is pray and give thanks. There isn't any need for distractions, beautiful as they may be.

  4. I am amazed at the age of that incredibly ancient chest still being used today! What stories it could tell? I wonder what the maker would think of this?

  5. Thinking of Thelma.
    What an interesting church Sue, and how clean and tidy the inside and outside was
    It's looking to be a nice day, I had a lovely walk yesterday and today is gardening
    Hazel c uk

  6. My condolences to Thelma, family and friends. Thinking of you all.

  7. I was surprised by how narrow the church is. Another interesting church post.

  8. Thinking of Thelma at this difficult timex

  9. Thelma - I hope you received my email. My thoughts are with you.

    Sue - what a lovely little church. I must show Keith the parish chest - he loves such things and I always have to photograph any we come across in our travels. That is VERY old.

  10. That's nice that a woman was there to share some history and tales of the church. I just love the history of that place. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)