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St Margaret, Burgh St Margaret
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Margaret, Burgh St Margaret
his predecessor Richard Phipson, Green bestrides the
landscape of church Victorianisation in East Anglia. The
bodies of their work are considerable, and it wasn't just
their own plans; anyone else's work would also have to
cross their desks for them to cast a cold eye upon it.
Their enthusiasms were as different from each others as
it is possible to be, I suppose. Phipson was a
technician, with an eye for detail. In restorations, his
innovations blend fairly seamlessly into the medieval,
which sounds good, but often leaves a rather dour,
characterless atmosphere. Sometimes he went mad,
producing extraordinary spires on a couple of churches in
the Stowmarket area, and he could be very impressive on a
grand scale, such as the complete rebuilding of St Mary
le Tower in Ipswich.
everything is Herbert Green's, pretty much. There is no
tower arch, just a doorway, through which you can access
the gallery. The furnishings are all of a piece, and the
font is in the style of the 15th century. Green was very
fond of Norman fonts, so it is interesting that here he
chose a font to match the (imitation) Perpendicular nave
rather than the (real) Norman south doorway. The stone
reredos is perhaps more in Green's heavy style.
The jewel in the crown of all this is the east window of 1968 by Paul Jefferies, in the uninhibited dynamic style of the time. It features the figures of St Margaret, St Luke and the Blessed Virgin. St Luke's bull looks a cheery sort, and St Margaret dispatches her dragon with aplomb. Mary, who is shown as the Queen of Heaven, is a little less vigorous than the other two figures. Her lack of an accompanying animal throws the composition slightly out of balance, and you wonder why she wasn't placed in the central light.
Simon Knott, March 2006, updated November 2016
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