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All Saints, Santon
Santon Downham was once the hamlet to this, the larger village, but the centuries turn, the world changes, and now there is only a name on the map. All Saints managed to continue services up into the 1970s, but its redundancy was a sensible one, particularly since it remains in the care of such a conscientious parish. They look after it, and they keep it open. They deserve praise, and when funding for medieval churches becomes regulated by parliament, as it surely must, they deserve money.
The pretty little octagonal tower actually tops the vestry, which is shoehorned into the south-west corner. There are simple little pews with doors, and a clever arrangement towards the east allows access through a baby roodscreen into quite the tiniest little chancel - you could almost touch all three walls at once. The altar rail can accomodate just two people at a time.
The roof is of the highest quality, and here is where it gets rather interesting, because the chancel was almost certainly built with medieval materials rescued during the 19th century restoration of the church at West Tofts, now abandoned in the battle zone. We don't know who was responsible for Santon, but West Tofts was restored by none other than Augustus Welby Pugin, and we know that the Pugins were friends of the family at the rectory here at Santon. Now, if Pugin had a pile of medieval materials, and a friend with a church that needed restoring... well, it makes you think. Even more than that, the 19th century features are at least Puginesque, and so...
Simon Knott, January 2005 (originally on the Suffolk site, February 2004)
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