Suffolk Churches – a series of journeys in a Mk 1 Cortina by Bernard Butler – Chapter 3

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]

Chapter 3

The third journey began on a dull morning in late November – Tuesday the 29th – but the forecast was for improving weather so I headed out south-west beyond the A1120 to find our first church at Gosbeck – and what an interesting church it turned out to be.

The tower, instead of forming the west end of the church, is where the south porch would be expected, so the entrance through the tower – often no longer in use in many other churches today – serves both purposes simultaneously.

On to Ashbocking, which did not look too promising from the map, being well off the road and set far into the estate lands of the owners of the great Hall. I succeeded in stampeding the horses running loose in a field – well they probably were excited about seeing a Mk 1! – but no-one came to warn me off so I found the Church alright, and I was delighted to find it was open.


This ancient building was first built for the Ash and then the Bocking dynasties, and for me its most interesting feature is a 14th century recess in the south wall which must relate to the Hall families, although there is no inscription. It is quite beautiful and puzzling at the same time, with a gorgeous window in its centre. I have never seen anything like it.


Another interesting feature is the re-instatement of a Norman font, thrown away some hundreds of years ago and replaced, and then rediscovered by chance during some excavations in the first part of the 1800s, by which time its antiquity was appreciated, so they threw out the one they had then!

This latter font was described very scathingly in 1814 as being awful, so all has turned out for the best!

Next came Pettaugh church, attractively set behind trees on a slight incline.

However, it was shut, and the book didn’t have much to say about its features, so I made do with a rather nice picture in the sunshine.

Disappointment continued as the next Church was also closed, although I had expected it this time. Winston is a tiny hamlet to the south of Debenham and once again the Church appeared to have been built for, or at least maintained by, the owners of the Hall. Not much in the book again, although it is a pretty setting, but the Tudor brick-built south porch is attractive, and evocative of distant times.

Finally on to Debenham itself – by far the largest Church today.

Open although deserted, it was thoroughly explored and made for an interesting 30 minutes visit.

I ran the Cortina up the pathway that the hearses take and managed a decent photograph before hastily backing out again!

Back home again for a late lunch to complete this third tour of 2005 – the final one for this first year, and hopefully many more to come exploring lovely Suffolk.

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3


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