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All Saints, East Tuddenham
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Saints, East Tuddenham
Anyone who has seen the cover of Richard Tilbrook's lovely book Norfolk's Churches Great and Small will remember the evocative image of a country church seen from across a field of poppies.
The most interesting aspect of the exterior, given that there were no poppies to be seen, is the face of the south porch. The spandrels have a beautiful Annunciation scene, with an Archangel who really seems to have sprung to earth in glory; his words to her are on an unfurling banner, his head as proud and erect as the lily in his hand. Gloria Tibi Tr(initas) it reads in beautiful crowned letters in the flushwork across the top.
The 13th century tower is accompanied by a nave and chancel that appear wholly Perpendicular, except that there are no aisles or clerestory; did the 15th century just add big windows and new roofs to an already existing building? But that can't be right, because the tower sits in the south-west corner, so at some point the church has obviously been extended northwards. The chancel sits in the middle of the east wall, so it must be later than the south side of the nave. We may surmise that the south wall is in its original place because the main doorway on this side is late Norman, perhaps early Early English.
On the north side of the church is the remains of an archway that must have led into a transept; there is even a little piscina beside it, now outside the church. It is all a bit of a puzzle, but interesting enough for you to make up your own idea of what happened here.
You step in through the ancient doorway and find, as you'd guess, that All Saints feels wide inside.
As you come in, there is a startling early 20th century triptych in the very highest possible Anglo-catholic taste. Christ is seated in majesty in the middle, and three figures adore him on each side.
The white walls and the open spaces accentuate the colour of the triptych, and there is another intense blast of colour at the east end, in the form of the window by Leonard Walker. Walker worked in an expressionist style in the1930s, and I had seen one of his lovely windows a few weeks before at Southburgh. But this one is two decades later, and it is absolutely gorgeous. It depicts Christ in Majesty flanked by the figures of Faith and Hope. The move in a flowing, sinuous manner, but it is the colours that are remarkable; it really looks as if the glass has been tie-dyed.
There's more interesting glass in the south side of the nave. Four Flemish panels, two of them roundels and the other two rectangular, depict scenes from the life and Passion of Christ. The roundels show the Presentation in the Temple and the Deposition from the Cross, while the two rectangular panels are part of a much larger scene depicting the Ascension.
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