Hello from 1066 – A Medieval Mosaic
I particularly wanted to visit the church at Ash again although we have been here before and found the church micro. Many of my extended family were born, baptised and even died here. They were mostly from the Hougham family. My maternal grandfather was John Frederick William Collins was born in 4 Campbell Rd, Walmer, Kent on 28 September 1900. His mother was Amy Ellen Wall was born on 9 October 1878 in Paradise Row, Sandwich, Kent, UK and her father was Frederick Wall was born in Woodnesborough, Kent in about 1853. His father John Wall was born in Staple, Kent in 1803 and died in Eastry in 1880 and his mother was Alice Hougham who was born on 8 November 1816 in Ash, Kent and died in Eastry in 1897. So Alice was my great-great-great grandmother. In the church of St Nicholas in Ash, there were lots of monumental brasses and wall monuments. One of the brasses was dedicated to Michael d.1594 and Richard d.1606 Hougham and reads:
“Here lyeth buried the bodies of Michaell and Richard Huffame, sonnes of Michaell Huffame. Michaell died in July 1594 and Richard died in October 1606. Richard married Elizabeth, daughter of Tom Edwards Sanders by who he had three sonnes, Michaell, Edward and Sollomon and one daughter Ann, all yet living. They were men both of a tall stature and comely parsons, besides were well esemed amonge all sortes of people both for their vertuous lives as also in their younge yeares for there good and triftie government, not of themselves onelie, but also they were a good stay in this parish amonge ther neighboures. This stone was laide by the appointment of them w were exec to ther wills viz: Thomas Paramor now Mayorius Canterbury married Ann Huffam their sister, Mr Serles Hauket &………….Austin ther unckle.”
St Nicholas also had some lovely stained glass windows including a modern East window by John Corley stained glass studio from Deal. There were several tombs one of which was Sir John Leverick d.1350, in embossed armour, cross-legged with a lion couchant at his feet, displaying his shield and surcoat of arms and another alabaster tomb of John de Septvans d. 1458 and his wife. Another was a Purbeck marble effigy of Sir John Goshall d.1310 with his wife underneath him. In the churchyard, we found several Houghams, Collins, Payne and even a Town. We also talked to a lady whose husband is a Hougham.
St James, the Great church in Staple was another lovely church where a colourful display of tapestry kneelers meets the eye on entering the church. It had some wonderful stained glass windows including one by Buffy Tucker from 2007. There were two beautiful gold mosaic wall plaques with alabaster surrounds, one to Nichola Charlotte, d.1878, daughter of Robert Ffrench of Monivea Castle and the other to Caroline Maria Noel d.1877, daughter of Gerard T. Noel. There was also an early 16th-century brass of a merchant, thought to be a Lynch family member. The side chapel is the Lynch Chapel. There were a lovely Victorian gold mosaic reredos, mosaic cross and mosaic tile work, all rather wonderful. The 15th-century octagonal font is decorated with symbols of four evangelists. On the stem are four lions and four woodwoses very similar to those we saw in Suffolk. Then I read that it was made in Suffolk which did not surprise me at all. I also noticed that in this area there were no hedges or fences just like in Suffolk. Mike commented that maybe some Suffolk people “went abroad”, which in Suffolk dialect means they left the district or more correctly left the house.
We found the church micro easily in Staple and then another at Holy Cross in Woodnestone. Jane Austin was a member of the congregation at Goodnestone and her brother was married there. There were very few stained glass windows and the East window is plain but the most impressive window depicts “St Gregory seeing Anglo-Saxon boys being sold as slaved in the market in Rome”, dedicated in 1899. There were also two very nice patchwork quilts used as door hangings, one depicts houses from around the village and the other flowers. The carved spread-winged eagle lectern was very beautiful and somewhat intimidating.
The wall of the sanctuary of St Mary’s church in Nonington was “on the huh”(Suffolk dialect for “not quite straight”). There were very many wall monuments – ten on the right of the sanctuary to the Hammond family and eleven on the left to the Plumptre family as well as a few for Pembertons. The reredos was fabric stitched with gold mosaic sequins with a blue and white tile Decalogue on each side. We found the church micro here, Nonington Baptist and All Saints in Chillenden. We also visited Chillenden windmill but could not find the geocache there.
The last church for the day was St Clements in Knowlton. This is a very cool place and is a conservation trust church. It had a wonderful three dimensional Charles II royal coat of arms and many wall monuments to the D’Aeth, Peyton and Speed families. There was a chest tomb monument in grey veined marble complete with a splendid naval relief of a ship hitting the rocks by Grinling Gibbons, dedicated to Sir John Narborough and James Narborough, both d. 1707, in a shipwreck off the Scillies with their father in law, Sir Cloudesley Shovel. We collected the numbers for the multi and after doublechecking, as they seemed wildly wrong, we found that I had made a mistake and were then able to find the cache easily.
A lovely day of geocaching with a little family genealogy thrown in. Not that we found anyone actually on the family tree but we were walking where they used to walk themselves.