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St Edmund, Caistor St Edmund
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Edmund, Caistor St Edmund
Not surprisingly, a fair amount of Roman brick has been used in repairs and reconstructions over the centuries, and these create delightful outlines and fillings to doorways and windows. The tower also contains a fair amount of brick, and there seems to have been a fairly late medieval restoration to the top of the tower.
This is not a church which seems to be used very often, and we had some difficulty getting access to the inside. You step through a doorway flanked by big corbel heads at shoulder height, and then down into what is a substantially Victorianised interior, with a slightly sad feeling, as if a busy former life had now passed it by. The ceiling is very unusual, in the shape of, but slightly lower than, the roof, with some beams showing through the plaster, but no cross or tie beams visible.
There are wall paintings, but they are so faint you would have no idea what they showed unless you were told; opposite the north doorway is a large St Christopher, suggesting that the north side has always been the main way in. You can just make out the familiar shape of the Saint. On the north side of the chancel arch there is another figure, its haloed head just discernible. In the past, enough of the poisoned chalice he was holding survived to tell that this is St John the Evangelist. Perhaps he was matched on the south side by another figure, the Blessed Virgin perhaps, or St John the Baptist as at Weston Longueville.
In this small space the font is imposing, a typical deep cut East Anglian design with Evangelistic symbols and angels holding shields, familiar lions supporting the stem. Interestingly, there is a dedicatory inscription in Latin around the base asking for prayers, not for an individual, but for the Bothers and Sisters, Benefactors of the Guild of St John the Baptist at Caistor.
Simon Knott, April 2007
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