On Saturday afternoon (20 October) we drove across to Sudbury Hall National Trust property. Even disabled drivers have to park in the main car park and there is an electric van – but it’s not very easy to enter. We started with the Second Hand Bookshop, then did the Museum of Childhood – it’s all accessible and good fun. An interesting display about the portrayal of race – more information here. And they have a dalek.
The House is not accessible for those in wheelchairs, so we went for a walk/roll through the gardens and up to the church.
We came to All Saints church, and moved from the marketing and publicity budget (and the vision) of the National Trust to that of an Anglican PCC. The church is at SK 158321, . It is on the derbyshirechurches website, with a facebook page. At least it was open. Apologies for the quality of the photos, the sun was low and at the wrong angle.
There was a church here at Domesday, probably Saxon then replaced with a Norman stone building. It was rebuilt about 1300, and the pitch of the Nave roof altered about 1400 to accommodate the Clerestory windows. About 200 years later, at about the time of the building of the Hall, the South porch was built and a balustrade parapet was added to the tower. The church was comprehensively restored in the 1870s and 80s by George Dever, for the 6th Lord Vernon. He raised the tower, added the pinnacles, replaced some of the windows, re-roofed the whole building, replaced the north transept with a second north aisle, removed the gallery, and installed new pews. You enter the porch under a War Memorial. The font is 1877, and the marble tondo (that’s what the NT guide calls it) commemorates two young children of the 6th Lord Vernon. They died in 1862 – rather oddly, a plaque underneath names three children who died. (I look ‘tondo’ up – defined as ‘a circular painting’).
Exploring the church there are some lovely memorials. This is the memorial to the parents of the children – Augustus (6th Lord Vernon), Harriet, and their son George (7th Lord Vernon). Augustus did a huge amount of work on the Church, Hall and Estate before he died in 1883. George inherited almost £25,000 a year, but was soon in financial difficulties. He married an American heiress, Frances Lawrance, but died at the age of 44.
We can go back a bit further, to George the 4th Lord and his wife Frances (died 1835 and 1837 respectively) – he had a keen interest in naval affairs, she was the daughter of an admiral (she also brought the lucrative coalfields and cotton mills at Poynton in Cheshire into the family). He died at sea, aboard his yacht Harlequin at Gibralter. The body was brought back to Sudbury on her, and buried in the churchyard, with eight of his sailors acting as pall-bearers.
George Venables-Vernon (died 1780) was created the 1st Baron Vernon of Kinderton in 1762. He had three wives, Mary, Anne and Maria. Maria’s brother, Lord Harcourt, had been George III’s governor when he was a child – which probably helped get the peerage. Louisa was one of the daughters of George, the 2nd Lord. Going back further we have John and Mary Vernon. Read the beautifully written notice about them, and admire the craftsmanship.
In the corner of the Vernon Chapel are two C13 ladies – the oldest effigies in the church. They are almost certainly ladies from the Montgomery family, who held the manor from after the Norman Conquest until 1513, when Ellen Montgomery married Sir John Vernon, the younger son of Henry Vernon of Haddon.
This portrait is of Edward Vernon Harcourt. Born here in 1757, Bishop of Carlisle 1791, he became Archbishop of York in 1808 and died in 1847. He had sixteen children.
In the Chancel is the Evacuee window, which was designed and made by Michael Stokes as a Millennium window. It was commissioned by a small group of evacuees from Manchester, children who came to Sudbury during the last War.
The East window was presented to the church by Queen Victoria and the Prince Consort in 1850, to the memory of George Edward Anson, brother of the then Rector, who had been Prince Albert’s Private Secretary and Keeper of Her Majesty’s Privy Purse. The glass is by a German artist. The reredos is 1885, in memory of the 6th Lord Vernon. Most of the rest of the glass is Victorian too – I loved the dragon and the shoes. I think the woman beating down the dragon is St Margaret of Antioch, but my readers may know better, and it is St Cecilia on the left.
A final view, and an angel with a shield.
Time for a walk back across the front of the house, and into the NT tearoom.