January 22 – Geocaching around Hadleigh and Lavenham

Happy Birthday Michael

Hello from 1066 – A Medieval Mosaic

We slept in for a while and spoke to Angeline in Australia who had rung to wish Mike Happy Birthday. Then we went into Woodbridge and Martlesham to buy some envelopes. Finally, we headed to the West Suffolk on our way to Hadleigh and Lavenham. On our way, we went through Hintlesham where we stopped to visit St Nicholas’s church. We sat in the car and ate our sandwiches while I took a couple of phone calls. The church had two hatchments, a little wall painting and an octagonal font with four lions. The wall monuments were all to the Timperley family including one flat black marble monument to Captain John Timperley 1629. There were a few marks from Monumental brasses which had all be removed. The rectors for the church date from Adam de Filby in 1160.

On our way to Hadleigh, we detoured to go to St Mary’s church in Aldham. This church had pew ends with faces as well as some with poppyheads and a lovely embroidered altar cloth. The most special thing was the round tower which is an outstanding sight from all around the district. The church was built in 1350 but it lists its rectors from 1303. The church micro here was a multi and while we found three of the things we needed we could not find the fish wind vane anywhere and could not guess the missing numbers with any accuracy. The coordinates looked as if they would be a distance away across the paddock so we gave up on this one for the day as it was very brisk up there.

We were able to park close to St Mary’s church in Hadleigh and soon collected the numbers required from the plaques on the ground commemorating all the old buildings in the area. The final was some distance away so we went to visit the magnificent looking church. It was lovely with lots of stained glass windows including some by Ward and Hughes. The stained glass window in the south chapel portrays the story of Rowland Taylor who was burned to death in 1555 in the reign of Queen Mary for his devotion to the Reformation. It had some great wall monuments including one to John Alabaster. The 1300’s bench ends were very special as was the carved Bible and lectern dated 1626. One of the bench ends is said to depict the head of St Edmund after his execution being guarded by a wolf. There were two guys setting up a stage and lighting for some kind of show but it didn’t stop us enjoying this church. One of the 47 translators of the King James version of the Bible, John Overton, was born here in 1559. Th church claims the oldest spire in Suffolk soaring 71 ft above the 64 ft tower and has a clock bell cast around 1280. Someone visiting the exhibition a few days ago mentioned that St Edmund should have been the patron saint of England and according to a newspaper article I found from 2013 this could be an ongoing issue. Edmund the Martyr was King of East Anglia from 855 to 869 AD and was killed by Danish/Viking invaders, probably at Bradfield St Clare near Bury St Edmunds. As we were walking towards the final for the geocache I noticed another church micro just around the corner, this one was also a multi. However, on collecting the numbers the final was only a few metres away and so quickly found. We also passed a village sign cache but we were unable to make sense of the question. I later figured it out with a nudge from the CO so maybe we will be able to collect the final sometime soon.

Time was marching on so we drove directly to St Peter and St Paul’s church in Lavenham, which was my main aim for the day as many people have mentioned this church to us. This church is also in our ‘100 Years 100 Treasures – A Celebration of Suffolk Churches’ book which Ruth gave us. The highlight of the church is the misericords and their interesting carvings. Misericords are the hinged wooden seats that provide support for the user during lengthy prayers. The carvings include a man and a woman, half human, half-beast, he playing a fiddle with a pair of tongs and she a hurdy-gurdy. The tower of the church is over 140 ft high begun in 1486 at the request of John de Vere, Earl of Oxford and Lord of the Manor. There are three very beautiful and distinctive matching stained glass windows in the Lady Chapel and another matching one behind the organ all obviously made by the same company. We could not figure out why such a beautiful church would not have a church micro so as we drove away I checked on the cell phone geocaching app and found that there was one. We drove back and collected the required numbers and found the cache which was down inside a branch of a hedge attached by a fishing wire, a very sneaky cache which we found surprisingly quickly. The second favourite point that we have given a geocache today.

By now it was late dusk but we called into St Mary’s church in Brent Eleigh on our way past. The church was lovely with a fantastic window to Edward Coleman who died in the 1740’s. We collected the required numbers but the cache was quite a walk away and there was not enough daylight to go looking for it so it too will have to wait for another time.

A great day out for a lovely birthday of my beloved soulmate.  Happy Birthday Michael.