Suffolk Churches – a series of journeys in a Mk 1 Cortina by Bernard Butler – Chapter 9

Picture of 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 a sunny morning in 2007, I set off early to explore the churches due east of Worlingworth.

The first three were often passed on trips to the seaside, but I had never stopped to go in any of them before.

Peasenhall was the first stop – scene of the dreadful murder of a maid at the beginning of the last century. I found access to be confusing, as although there were two roads passing either side of the church, neither had any direct access to the grounds, so I took the first picture as best  I could from one of these roads.

Eventually I realised that a tiny track, just wide enough for a vehicle, led to the church gate, and took my second picture.

This church, as with all five today, was open.

The most interesting feature was the file record of the churchyard, which also contained all the grave inscriptions. This is an invaluable record* as many can no longer be read easily. One in particular referred to a man who carved his own headstone in wood (before he died of course!).  When I found it in the churchyard it was seriously decayed and no legend was readable any more, but it was a poignant reminder of  “dust to dust,  ……”.

Leaving the village of Peasenhall towards the east, the road rises in a long curve to a peak upon which was build the church of Sibton.

Set in beautiful surroundings, it is now some distance from any habitation and is one of those churches which has very little furniture. It reminded me of Laxfield in that it had a large open area in the nave. There were several items of interest as referred to in Cautley’s book. I walked round the building outside and some of the views of the surrounding countryside were timeless.

* Worlingworth church has recently completed a similar document record of all the grave inscriptions to add to its map of all grave locations.

I continued east on the very old road that was a once a very busy main through-route for many centuries, and arrived at Yoxford.

On arrival, the area from which I wanted to take my photo was fully occupied by other vehicles, so I turned up the road alongside the church to take my first photo. As I did so, a car pulled alongside and we had a short conversation about the Cortina.

Having taken the picture, I could then see that I could now move the car to my intended spot, so I took another picture.

On entering the church, for the first time today I was not alone, as there were two ladies loudly discussing arrangements for some forth-coming event. This slightly cramped my style, but I was able to get around the building and note the brasses for which the church is well-known.

I now joined the main road north towards Great Yarmouth, but quickly turned off (too quickly as it turned out) in my search for the tiny village of Darsham. After consulting the map, I realised what I had done, and – like the 3 Kings – arrived “by another route” into a most picturesque village scene.

Parking up in front of the church, I was met by a resident with the old comment yet again “We had one of those”!

This church contains some very interesting inscriptions on the floor memorials and was well worth the detour.

My final church was north to the other side of the A12, to Bramfield.

Once again my navigation was suspect and in the village I overshot the required turning, but when I eventually arrived outside the church – what a surprise!

Here was a round tower – unusual in Suffolk in itself – completely detached from and askew to the beautifully thatched church.

This was truly the gem in the collection today, and is a must to visit. There are several unusual features, including a magnificent monument from the early 1600s, but the crowning glory is the superb original and unrestored rood screen – Cautley describes it rightly as “the loveliest in Suffolk”.

I took two pictures – one to show the tower (not open), and one to show the thatched roof of the church.

After a very enjoyable morning I took the beautiful country road to Walpole, and then returned to Worlingworth via Stradbroke.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]East out of Worlingworth to Saxtead Little Green and hence to the A1120 going east.

Through Dennington to Peasenhall, Sibton and Yoxford.

From Yoxford I joined the A12 going north but quickly turned off, taking the next right exit after the B1122, towards Westleton.

Fiddled through to Darsham and turned left to arrive outside the church.

Continued west out of Darsham and thus back to the A12, and turned right onto this main road.

Second left (A144) for the fast approach to Bramfield.

In Bramfield, I turned left at the crossroad signposted Walpole, and the church is on the right after a few yards along here.

Continued to Walpole and turned left onto the B1117 towards Stradbroke and home.

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9


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