March 7 – A Beorscipe evening out with Charlie and friends

A geocaching day around Tattingstone, Holbrook, Harkstead, Erwarton and Shotley

Hello from 1066 – A Medieval Mosaic

We had been invited to another Beorscipe with Charlie and his friends this evening at the George in Hintlesham so decided to go geocaching around the Shotley peninsula since it is in that direction. I missed the exit I was looking for to get off the A12 but took the next one so our first church micro was at Bentley. The church was closed and we soon found the cache and moved on.

At St Mary’s at Tattingstone, we found a lovely church with some beautiful Clayton and Bell stained glass windows. I especially like the main window with the Apostles and Martyrs. It also had some interesting corbels on the wooden ceiling and some great bench ends on the pews.The rectors date from 1273 with Thomas de Morton. We also tried to do a village sign cache over the road but a guy came out of the church while we were looking and was determined to talk to us so we had to give up looking.  He was waiting to pick his child from school so he was in no hurry to leave. When we came out of the church we had to move the car as a school bus was trying to park so we never had another chance to look for the VS. The church micro was not very far away beside the lake. Alton Water is a manmade reservoir. It is the largest in Suffolk, with a perimeter of over 8 miles. It was a warm spring day and this was the perfect spot to be.

We drove up the road and found ourselves at Royal Hospital School in Holbrook where there was a cloud burst and I stayed in the car while Mike got out so that he could get a photograph. This school was one of the places that was considered for us to hold our exhibition before we decided on Woodbridge. Ruth is the librarian for the school. Royal Hospital School is a co-educational day and boarding school with naval traditions. The school has over 750 pupils from age 11 to 18.

At All Saints church in Holbrook, we saw an amazing alabaster tomb of Judge John Clench and his daughter-in-law Margery. Judge Clench condemned Margaret Clitheroe to death in 1586. Margaret converted to Roman Catholicism in 1574 and her husband paid the fines for her not attending church. But she was arrested several times. Margaret risked her life by harbouring and maintaining priests, She provided two chambers where she kept priests hidden and Mass was celebrated through the thick of the persecution. Her home became one of the most important hiding places for fugitive priests in the north of England. She was made a saint in 1970 by Pope Paul VI. All Saints church also had some lovely Millennium tapestry kneelers. The numbers for the geocache were quickly collected and we went off to find the cache. While Mike was looking at the hint object I saw the cache sitting on the ground. I was very lucky to see it as it was very small. We moved it slightly to match the hint so I think it will be easier to see now.

St Mary’s Church, Harkstead the 15th-century octagonal font had symbols of the Evangelists and 4 angels with detail around the base with raised carved lions alternating with woodwoses. There was a 19th-century semi-octagonal pulpit with coloured marble mosaic decoration and a wonderful reredos from around 1875 by J. Powell & Sons. It had blue, white and gold mosaic work with corn, lilies and Evangelist symbols. A lady arrived in the church just before us and she there to teach two young teenagers to pull the ropes for the bells. I would have liked to stay and maybe take part as my great-grandfather was a bell-ringer at Ulcombe, Kent for fifty years. The lady recognized us from our exhibition which she attended recently.

St Mary the Virgin, Erwarton was a lovely church with an impressive monument of a cross-legged knight wearing chain mail, his feet resting on a lion, his head on a pillow, holding a shield and sword, said to be Sir Bartholomew Daviller. There were effigies of Sir Bartholomew Bacon, 1391, and his wife Joan de Heveningham, 1445. Bartholomew was the son of Sir Robert Bacon and his wife Isabel Davillers. There was also an effigy of Isabel Bacon, the daughter of Sir Bartholomew Daviller c.1300, which was an effigy of a lady praying, head on pillow, wearing a gown and wimple lying on a chest tomb. The 15th-century octagonal font had carved lions and angels alternating with Tudor roses. There was also a wall monument to Sir Philip Parker who died in 1736 as well as tombs and wall monuments to other members of the Parker Long family.. On the side of the organ was a portrait of Anne Boleyn drawn by Holbein and it is said that the heart of Anne Boleyn is buried in the Cornwallis vault beneath the organ. The pipe organ by Norman and Beard Ltd., 1912. In the church yard is the grave of Mrs Gertrude Alice Garrod who was thought to be the last person to die form the plague in England. At the age of 42, she fell ill and died of the plague on 19 June 1918. Erwarton Hall was built during the late 16th century and is said to be one of the first great English country houses to be built of brick. The superb gatehouse was built 100 years after the main building. The hall has strong historical links with Anne Boleyn, King Henry the VIII’s second wife. It is known that she spend much of her childhood here. Henry himself is also said to have visited often.

We visited Shotley Point before but then there was thick fog. Today, however there was a brilliant view of the port of Felixstowe. The Port of Felixstowe is United Kingdom’s busiest container port, dealing with 42% of Britain’s containerized trade.  Harwich Harbour is opposite the port of Felixstowe. This view reminded us of home looking similar to the ports of Timaru, Lyttleton and Bluff.

St Mary’s church, Shotley is further from the village it serves than any other Suffolk church. Erwarton parish church is closer to Shotley village than Shotley church is.  It had a molded and paneled wooden semi-circular chancel arch and  carved wooden 5-panel reredos with painted boards of Moses, Aaron, Lords Prayer, Creed and Exodus. The altar rails surrounds three sides of the altar with turned balusters. The communion table had carved cabriole legs. There was a George II Royal Coat of Arms and a great range of green tapestry kneelers.

By this stage it was getting late so we drove to The George at Hintlesham where we were to meet Charlie and his friends for dinner at 7 pm so we arrived a little early and had a cup of coffee. We had a lovely evening with Charlie, Ruth, Maria, Wobbly, Jonathan, Barry and two new friends who also have a great interest in reenactments, Mollie and Ian. Mollie is a dressmaker who makes outfits for reenctors and she herself plays Boudica. Boudica (or Boudicea) was a queen of the British Celtic Iceni tribe who led an uprising against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire in AD 60 or 61, and died shortly after its failure. Mollie had lovely photographs of her costumes.