home I index I latest I glossary I introductions I e-mail I about this site
St Mary, Ellingham
the captions by hovering over the images, and click on them to
see them enlarged.
This church is not terribly well-known, unlike the church of St James in the distant parish of Great Ellingham off in the west of the county. This is partly because the church is kept locked. There is a keyholder, a very nice man, but he lived so far off and in such a convoluted route that in the end he gave up trying to give me directions and brought the key to the church instead.
St Mary is a long, handsome church inside, obviously well-kept and well-used, and the white walls and light box pews give it an air of light and space. This is fortunate, because it offsets an excellent range of stained glass from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Best of all are the windows on the north side of the nave. They get more recent as you head westwards. A wonderful Annunciation scene is accompanied by a harvest window depicting an angel, and another of Christ the Good Shepherd, two subjects which must have had a real resonance in such a remote, rural parish. They are the work of Reginald Bell. The sower stands with Ellingham church behind him. At Colne Engaine in the lanes of north Essex you can see exactly the same window, but with Colne Engaine church in it!
More curious, the older window remembering a vicar's wife, Amelia Harriet Smith, shows her as Mary at Bethany sitting at the feet of Christ, and then as one of the mothers allowing their children to come unto Christ. There is a good Kempe window of the Adoration of the Magi, and a Ward & Hughes scene of the story of Naomi and Ruth.
There's something very odd about the arrangement of the nave and aisle. At one time there were two aisles, or possibly a north aisle predating the south aisle, because in the north wall there are remains of the arcade. This must have been very early, probably 13th century, because on the central remnant there is a bishop's head and upside-down dragon in the style of the period.
Simon Knott, July 2008
Amazon commission helps cover the running costs of this site.
home I index I latest I introductions I e-mail I about
this site I glossary
Norwich I ruined churches I desktop backgrounds I round tower churches
links I small print I www.simonknott.co.uk I www.suffolkchurches.co.uk