Suffolk Churches – a series of journeys in a Mk 1 Cortina by Bernard Butler – Chapter 5

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 5

I set off again on a warm and sunny morning in late summer – September 13th 2006. The plan was to visit five churches to the east of Framlingham.

The first stop was at Bruisyard, hidden down remote narrow lanes.

Unusually, this has a round tower, not visible from where I had to take the picture.

The south chapel now appears to double as the vestry, and I was disappointed to find that a large carpet covers the brass to Michael Hare (1611) mentioned in the “bible” I am using – “Suffolk Churches and their Treasures” by H. Munro Cautley.

Then, following the river valley of the Alde that eventually passes Snape on its way to Aldeburgh, I travelled south-east to Rendham.

St. Michael’s church is not highly praised in the book, but it now has a History Corner that could easily take a fascinating hour to enjoy to the full on its own.

The Church Guide is also an excellent read, and I enjoyed this stop very much.

The main problem was parking the Cortina for the picture, as it is on a sharp corner.

Fortunately no traffic came along while I was setting up and taking the picture, and it looks a very peaceful spot in the photo.

Sadly, the third church on the route, Sweffling, was locked. This was a shame after the lovely walk across the grass up to the south porch. It was much better than a gravel pathway, and really made the church stand out as if it had grown out of the hillside. There were beautiful Suffolk views across the fields too.

I managed a peep through the east window, but could not see the item that is probably the cause of the church being locked – apparently there is a boiled-leather chalice case, elaborately tooled, and believed to be 13th century.

Church number four was down a long descending narrow road, and it was fortunate that there was nothing coming up the other way!

Great Glenham may have been great once, but it is a tiny place now!

Inside, it was the first time I had seen colour in the arched head of the opening to the rood screen loft stairway.

Apart from this, the main feature of interest is the exceptional font with its very detailed and beautiful carving, still very rewarding despite the usual damage done in the 17th century by the Puritans.

I managed an angled photo this time – the proper parking area being disfigured and obscured by BT vans and the like!

So on to the final church – Cransford.

The book sounded very critical – “drastically and dreadfully restored”! I took a rather pretty picture with the Cortina and just the church tower showing, and walked up the path to the porch – things didn’t look that bad.

Then it all went wrong – the door was locked, my second failure of the day, so I decided to walk round the outside of the building, and now found some of the horrors that the book’s author must have seen – horrible huge plain brick buttresses propping up the badly-cracked south walls; awful cement rendering along the whole of the side of the church; what looked like a shed coming off the south wall of the chancel; etc.

I beat a hasty retreat and set off for home, arriving after a two and a half hours journey in fine, if rather humid, weather.


Route Details

Onto the A1120 travelling east, via Saxtead Little Green and Saxtead.

Through Dennington and then right onto the B1120 towards Framlingham.

First left, and then second left to Bruisyard church.

Unclassified roads to Rendham; then B119 towards Framlingham again before turning left, soon after the bridge, towards Sweffling.

First left, and left again to reach Great Glenham via country lanes.

Turn round and stay on this road to Cransford, crossing the B1119 along the way.

Finally onwards until reaching the B1120 – thence home.

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5


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