Suffolk Churches – a series of journeys in a Mk 1 Cortina by Bernard Butler – Chapter 4

[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 4

After a freezing night in early March 2006, the morning began sunny enough, so at 10.30am I set off to visit five churches to the south of the Worlingworth area in a region enclosed by the B1120 to the north, the B1077 to the west, the B1078 to the south, and a line due south of Worlingworth to the east.

First stop was Framsden – a sleepy hamlet with a fairly large church. The interesting lych-gate into the Churchyard promised much, but unfortunately the Church was locked (key-holders listed).

On next to Helmingham, a majestic church attached to the Estate. It has many fine 17th century memorials inside, and also boasts a vaulted room below (not open). Definitely a church to visit.

Nice picture too!

Through the countryside to Otley, where the church nestles hidden away at the end of a pretty driveway.

Another glorious Suffolk tower – the Cortina looks so small in comparison – so I took a second picture at this location.

The porch is on an equally grand scale – so much so that they have turned part of it into a toilet!

Another unusual but welcoming feature is the disabled access ramp just inside the South Porch entrance.

Striking north-east now to begin the return, the trip continued along virtually vehicle-free country roads to Cretingham.

This was the second church to be found locked, but again key-holders information was given for those who wanted to see inside.

As I had visited this church on a previous occasion – a Gardens and Classic Cars Show  in 2005 – I was happy to take the photo and move on.

Continuing through lovely countryside I tracked north to reach Earl Soham, the last stop of this particular journey.

Here I met my first and only other person from the whole trip. He turned out to be the key-holder, and he was opening all the doors to let the church get an airing.

The main feature of interest to me was the magnificent 17th century pew-end carvings. All sorts of people, demons and animals are represented, and it is interesting to speculate whether the heads were all carved by one person: clearly the pew-ends themselves are the work of several carpenters, as you would expect – close inspection showing not only subtle variations in the intricate design, but also varying levels of skill.

I assume the heads are dowelled onto the top of the pew-ends rather than each end being completed from a single piece of solid wood.

I was back home before 1.00pm after a trip of three churches open out of five – about par.

The journey was remarkable for the distinct lack of traffic throughout, and with the Cortina’s heater going full-blast the views made this a very enjoyable trip on a sunny Friday morning.

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Route Details

Worlingworth to Ashfield-Cum-Thorpe, via Bedfield.

West along the B1120, then left onto the B1077.

Immediately the B1077 bears right but I went straight ahead onto a road marked “unsuitable for HGVs”.

Right at the T junction into Framsden – along here the church is on the left. Park in the road as the lane to the church is single track and difficult to turn in.

Continue along until meeting the B1077 again. Turn left and keep on where the B1079 branches off to the left. Helmingham church is immediately on the right – easy off-road parking.

Return to the nearby B1079 turn-off, and take this road this time – to Ottley.

The church is towards the end of the built-up area on the right – nice driveway entrance to park beside the church.

Turn left out of the churchyard and take the immediate right-turn down a country lane towards Clopton Green.

At the T junction turn left, marked Cretingham.

After a little over a mile take a left-turn signposted Cretingham, and then right at the T junction.

This brings you into Cretingham. Continue through the village and the church appears on the left as you descend the hill – easy parking.

Continue down the hill and turn right at the T junction. At the next T junction after a mile, turn left again – this brings you into Earl Soham.

At the village green triangle keep to the right and make a right-turn onto the main road (B1120). Go through the village and the church appears on the right. Park by taking the grass centred track (see photo) directly towards the tower, or park at the bottom.

On leaving the church turn right onto the B1120 again and shortly take the left turn towards Bedfield when the main road bends sharply to the right.

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

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