Suffolk Churches – a series of journeys in a Mk 1 Cortina by Bernard Butler – Chapter 10

By Craig Ranson
By Craig Ranson

Managing Director – Bridge Classic Cars

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]During our recent post on our visit to Morston Hall we mentioned meeting Bernard and his wife who had, at home, a Mk1 Ford Cortina.

Bernard told me as a part of his retirement that he travels around Suffolk and visits our churches and photographs his car with the church and writes about the experience.

We are very pleased to be able to share with you their fascinating story. All of the experiences you read of below are from Bernard Butler. Bridge Classic Cars do not claim ownership in any way.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_text_separator title=”Suffolk Churches – a series of journeys in a Mk 1 Cortina – by Bernard Butler”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]With the promise of sunshine and above average (for February!) temperatures, I decided that the time was right to get the Cortina out for the first time for many weeks and take a further trip around the churches of Suffolk.

I was apprehensive about whether the car would start, but she burst into life on the third attempt, as was usual after a long lay-off. A quick polish of the dustiest panels and I was on my way south-east through Framlingham to Parham, the first port of call.

Someone was doing a little masonry repair to the tower floor, and we passed the time of day. I spent a long time here and there were a couple of items I had never seen in a church before, including a very old charity collecting box chained to the altar rail.

From Parham I travelled south to the rural village of Marlesford.

This has a very attractive setting and I was just able to drive between the gates and up the pathway for a good picture. This was another example of a large church with huge grounds, pretty full of graves, yet in a rural setting now containing few houses.

On my way out of this village, the O.S. map showed a stream which had to be crossed whichever of the two exit roads were taken. I discovered that the road I had chosen did not attempt to bridge the stream – instead, the stream ran across the road in the form of, appropriately enough, a ford!

Having negotiated this safely, I popped out of the car to take a picture of our adventure!

FORD – it is amazing that this scene is only half a mile from the busy A12.

Rendlesham church north aspect, the damaged wall, and the “stuck-on brake lights”

Crossing the A12, I took the back road to Campsea Ashe and parked on the corner.

I think I have been inside this church before – Cautley has little to say about it, and so have I.

By now you may have noticed that in several pictures the brake lights appear to be on. I did not spot this until I loaded up the pictures. On spotting it I went out to the car but the brake lights were not on (good), even with ignition on (good), even with the engine started (good). However, when I looked again next day I realised that it is the reflector segment which appears lit in the photos – probably reflecting back the flash.

Anyway, back to the tour. The next stop was to be Rendlesham – another church stuck out in the countryside, away from the fast-growing town which bears its name.

As I took my first pictures a man approached from the drive of what I assumed was the Rectory and asked if I was the insurance man! He then realised I was taking a picture of the church, and not of his ancient wall (see picture) that had been knocked down accidentally the day before by a reversing delivery lorry.

When I arrived at the church door I found it was locked, but he had disappeared by then and so I never did see the interesting features of the interior that Cautley describes in his book – a shame.

Rendlesham church north aspect, the damaged wall, and the “stuck-on brake lights”

Rendlesham was the southern limit of the journey and I turned north-east onto the A1152 towards Tunstall.

The church here has a magnificent appearance set lengthways along the B1078, but try as I might I could not see where to park. I can only assume the congregation park where I did in the end – along the church wall on the relatively busy B road.

After this church, I turned north towards Blaxhall and was immediately faced with a choice – right to the village or left to the church, helpfully named Blaxhall Church road.

Fortunately I had already studied the map and realised that yet again this was going to be a church now far removed from the village that gave it its name. This one was about a mile away in rolling countryside!

Surrounded by agricultural fields the setting of this church is difficult to surpass – it is beautiful.

I nodded a greeting towards two fieldworkers nearby. They turned out to be eastern Europeans, a sign of the times, and it seemed somehow incongruous to hear them talking in their native tongue in such a very English and historical setting.

This was an interesting building and the roof inside was a key feature.

This was my fifth open church out of six – exceptional for these times, and I wondered if my luck could hold. Sadly it didn’t, for the next and final church was Little Glemham, set in the grounds of Glenham Hall, and suffering the very common fate of such buildings in being firmly locked against visitors!

The return journey, by the back road to Parham and hence to Framlingham, concluded the four-hours trip.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]South-east out of Worlingworth through Little Saxtead Green, crossing the B1120 going south into Framlingham and on towards Parham on the B1116.

Left at Parham to the church, then continue forward through country lanes to Marlesford.

South out of Marlesford to cross the A12 on country lanes to Campsea Ashe.

Right past the church going south towards Rendlesham.

On from Rendlesham to join the A1152, going east.

Continue to Turnstall and the church, then double back and strike out to the north taking the church road to Blaxhall church (not village).

On, then first left, first left again and look for Church Lane on the right after a little way  – the hidden Little Glenham church is concealed up this track.

On to the A12 – turn eastwards onto it. First left; first right; first left; leads back into Parham. Turn right onto the Framlingham road and home.

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10


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