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St Andrew, Thelveton
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We were here on a raw day in early March - we had a new car to try out and a couple of hours to kill, so I found two redundant churches near to each other by the Suffolk border, Frenze and Shimpling. Both are in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust, and so were accessible, welcoming and of great interest.
Halfway between the two is this funny little Victorianised church in the fields. Unlike the other two, it is not redundant, but (irony of ironies!) it is locked without a keyholder. The graveyard seemed livelier than the church, with several people laying flowers in the icy slush. Unfortunately, one of them had parked his car right up by the west wall, and so I couldn't keep it out of the pictures. It was red as well, which made it worse somehow.
I looked through the west window, and could see pretty much everything, an almost completely 19th century refurbishment that had been updated since. Peter Stephens has kindly provided the photographs below.
I would have been interested to see the 15th century font more closely. Arthur Mee, in his 1940 King's England, claims that on the stem, with three mitred Bishops, there is, and I quote, "a man in a bowler hat". What? Barmy Arthur must have been at the sherry bottle that day. Actually, I don't suppose he visited any of these places. I always imagine him lying back on a vast divan in his silk pyjamas, eating grapes, while scantily-clad pretty young things bustle around his bed collating field reports from poorly-paid assistants. Maybe the man in the bowler hat was someone's revenge.
Simon Knott, March 2005
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