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St Peter, Forncett St Peter
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Forncett St Peter
The church is set far back from the road in a huge, delightfully overgrown graveyard. The setting is just about perfect, and inevitably stepping inside will be an anticlimax. At the time of my visit in 2006 the interior appeared well-kept and well-used, if a little gloomy. This is a late medieval building which underwent a substantial and relatively early Victorian restoration, and what we see today is an 1850s vision of what the medieval church might have been like.
Best of all are the bench ends, one of several Victorian sets in East Anglia that replicate the 15th century style so perfectly that at first it is difficult to tell that they are not old after all. I wondered if they might be the work of Ipswich woodcarver Henry Ringham, who was active at this time and did a lot of work in the Norwich Diocese. Several of them are obviously intended to be parts of series - the Seven Deadly Sins, the Seven Works of Mercy, the Labours of the Months, and so on. Lust and Avarice are notable members of the first series, and the Works of Mercy bench ends include Sheltering the Homeless and Comforting the Dying. There are also several pairs of Saints, all apparently Disciples.
Simon Knott, November 2006, updated September 2010
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