Wordwell, Suffolk – All Saints’


Into Suffolk and my old benefice. The first church we stopped at was All Saints’, Wordwell. This is now maintained by the Churches Conservation Trust – fascinating how their sign has changed. They have an excellent website, and even a phone app. (I have downloaded the app, but need Harry to show me how it works!).


It is a Norman building which had fallen into disuse by the early C19. In the 1850s it was renovated by the architect Samuel Teulon.



Over the door, inside the south porch, is a wonderful tympanum, and inside the church, another one. Some have interpreted the inside one as the story of Edward the Confessor giving his ring to a beggar, who reveals himself as St John the Baptist. This legend was popular in England in the 12th century.


The font is C12.


The bench ends C15 are lovely too. They mainly date from the C15, but some near the west end may be earlier. To quote the guide: “The back bench end has two dragons, a hybrid dragon, a man emerging from a shall – is he wearing a jester’s or even a monk’s hat – and a creature with a bearded human head. This strange menagerie may represent the danger of the world and the devil outside the safe protection of the church.”



I have a soft spot for this church, having organised summer evensongs here for the years when I was Curate. I remember organising a service for a group of walkers and then all being invited to the farmhouse in Wordwell for a proper Suffolk tea.



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