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St Peter and St Paul, Tuttington
and St Paul, Tuttington
Around here, pretty villages huddle
in the dips, and roads obey the old medieval strip field
plan system, cutting back at dog legs for no apparent
reason. Coming into Tuttington, you find a compact,
pretty village, with flint cottages and houses with
Flemish gables. The round-towered church is tucked fairly
tightly behind a large house with Flemish gables. I have
been a regular visitor to Tuttington over the years. It
is a church I like a lot, one which easily draws me into
its orbit if I am passing close by, and I found my name
six times in the visitors book.
another church? Well, not quite, because Tuttington has
an exceptionally interesting collection of 15th Century
bench ends. Strikingly, they appear to form a set - there
are about a dozen of them, and they have been placed as
the front half of the benches in the nave. Either there
were once more, or this church was only benched for half
the nave, or, I am afraid, they are from somewhere else
originally. Never mind, and in any case we can never
They are a bit battered about, but the damage is as likely to be the rough and tumble of the centuries as much as any form of iconoclasm. But for me on this journey the most striking thing about them is that they appear to be by the same hand as the bench ends at Thurgarton, some seven miles to the north-west. The subjects have some similarities, the most memorable being the man creeping up on a dragon and the elephant and castle. Here too, the man with the gryphon may be part of a sequence in which this one is followed by the gryphon holding the man's head at Thurgarton. Intriguingly, this suggests the possibility that they might all have been in the same church originally. Or are they not by the same hand at all, but simply one 15th Century parish carpenter's clever copies of those of a nearby church?
An unusual survival sits high up in the south-east corner of the nave. This is a corbel in the shape of a dragon. It has no counterparts elsewhere in the nave, and the two holes in it suggest that once a cord might have been threaded through it, providing a pulley for the lenten veil on the rood.
Simon Knott, May 2018
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