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St Peter, Reymerston
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The tall blockish tower is fortress-like, a sense impressed by the massive buttress containing the stairway on the north side. It is probably as early as the 13th century, although the parapet must be a post-Reformation, pre-Victorian remodelling.
Incongruously, in what is effectively a late medieval space, the arcades have gloriously ancient Early English foliage-covered capitals, showing that this was an aisled church long before the Perpendicular period. Indeed, it was probably built as a single job in the 13th century, making the arcades contemporary with the tower.
At the west end of the church is one of the finest fonts in these parts, probably early 15th century. The deeply cut panels alternate the evangelistic symbols with seated figures who may be prophets. What makes them extraordinary is their curly hair, which wouldn't be out place in Art Deco sculpture.
The wide brick floors create a feeling of space and openness, enhanced by the box pews in the aisles facing into the interior space with its medieval benches. The box pews are probably contemporary with the magnificent three-decker pulpit, which is probably late 17th century.
The furnishings in the nave are unusual, but those in the chancel must be unique. First of all, extraordinary altar rails that are said to come from a Belgian monastery. They are dated to about 1700 and are in wholly un-English baroque, with a large roundel on each side, one of the Baptism of Christ and the other which may be intended to depict the Sermon on the Mount.
The glass in the east window is also Flemish, featuring three figures larger than you usually see. St John and St Peter flank the figure of Christ. The choir stalls are something else. They are mid-Victorian, but quite unlike anything else I have ever seen; Gothic, but the product of someone's imagination as much as anything the Ecclesiological Movement would have recommended.
Simon Knott, February 2006
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