St Edmunds Church, Southwold

Several of these next images were taken on a previous visit but I had forgotten to put them together, so here goes!

Starting with a shot of the whole church. The parish church of Southwold is dedicated to St Edmund, and is considered to be one of Suffolk's finest. It lies under one continuous roof, and was built over about 60 years from the 1430s to the 1490s; it replaced a smaller 13th-century church that was destroyed by fire. The earlier church dated from the time when Southwold was a small fishing hamlet adjacent to the larger Reydon. By the 15th century Southwold was an important town in its own right, and the church was rebuilt to match its power and wealth.

The church is renowned for its East Anglian flushwork, especially that of the tower. Knapped and unknapped flints are arranged in patterns, textures and designs and create the stone work. You live and learn!

The rood screen is considered by many to be the finest in the county. It stretches all the way across the church, and is made up of three separate screens: a rood screen across the chancel arch and parclose screens across the north and south chancel aisles

One of the screens.

All of the church's medieval glass was destroyed by William Dowsing in 1644; the only stained glass windows in the church are the east windows over the altar (1954, by Sir Ninian Comper) and the west window below the grand tower. In World War II the church was narrowly missed by a German bomb that destroyed houses in the nearby Hollyhock Square. The bomb did not do much damage to the building itself but blew out most of the windows - another reason why the church has very little stained glass.

The roof in the chancel is painted and its height gives the church a very open feeling. The roofs were restored in 1857 by Edward Lushington Blackburne and in 1866-1867 by Richard Phipson.

Ornate, but not liked by everybody. I quite like it.

The reredos is by Benedict Williamson - Benedict Williamson (1868–1948) was an architect who designed many Romanesque Revival churches in the United Kingdom who later became a Roman Catholic priest.

A 15th century clock jack stands at the west end. He has an axe and bell which he uses to strike the time, and has a twin at Blythburgh. The Southwold jack is named "Southwold Jack", and is one of the symbols of the Adnams brewery. I had seen the Adnams one but didn`t connect them!

The font has been badly mutilated in the past but is still very impressive with its modern, but large ornate cover.

The two storey south porch has 'M' for St Mary picked out on the lower panels. Above the door, framed by two windows, is a modern statue of St Edmund, shown bound in the ropes that tied him to a tree while he was used by Danish archers as a target.


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