IN SEARCH OF MEDIEVAL INSPIRATION: PART 5(iii)
There are some fine brasses in Rougham Church from the 15th and 16th centuries. Figure 42 shows Katherine Yelverton (d. 1481), who lies next to her husband in the nave. I include this brass image as I like the way the light has caught it.
I am becoming increasingly interested in the composition of medieval brass groupings. Figure 43 shows William and Katherine Yelverton’s seven sons.
Figure 44 shows the seven sons and one daughter of John and Elizabeth Humpton (d. 1521) that is to be found in Sculthorpe Church. The full brass is shown in Figure 45. I thought this was an interesting composition, for not only are the sons and daughter separated (as are husband and wife – sometimes in brasses they hold hands), but the sons are centred beneath the father and the daughter is centred beneath the mother, yet there is a unity, as they all face inwards, together, as a family.
I have come across a memorial brass that shows four sons (only three shown in Fig. 46) and two daughters on the same brass, in Rougham Church. They are the children of William Yelverton (d. 1586) who is flanked by his two wives, Anne and Jane, with the children below. My general impression of such brasses is that the children are separated by sex, not age. 1586 is, of course, beyond the medieval period, but the brass is ‘food for thought’.
I came across this kneeling knight in armour (Fig. 47) at Sculthorpe Church. It shows Henry Unton, ‘Gentilman’ (d. 1470). It is very early usage of the term ‘Gentilman’ in this context.
Figure 48 is a Green Man from the west porch of North Elmham Church.
Figure 49 shows a medieval squint to be found in the north chancel wall of Whissonset Church. The coloured light is, alas, not sourced through medieval glass.
Fig. 50 Fig. 51
Waterden Church stands in a field and is approachable down a grass path – it is all that remains of a village, long gone. It is now under the auspices of the Norfolk Churches Trust. It’s a very strange place, a patchwork of architecture through the ages, of which the earliest are Saxon windows, the remains of which can be seen on the north wall of the nave, both inside and out. If one looks closely, above the lancet window in Fig. 50 and below the eaves, one can make out a blocked Saxon window. Figure 52 shows such a window (not the same one) from inside the church. The church, whose tower collapsed, has the most extraordinary Victorian plain pulpit which is actually at floor level.
Fig. 52 Fig. 53
The west tower wall of Whissonset Church houses some delightful pieces of mid 14th century glass (Fig. 52), including ‘Christ in Glory’ (Fig. 53) and the arms of Edward III (1327-1377).
Fig. 54 Fig. 55
Figures 54 and 55 show light through Perpendicular style windows in the south wall of the nave at Rougham Church. I like the way the lead patterning is transferred on to the wall.
Fig. 56 shows light through a south chancel window at Rougham Church.
Figure 57 shows the three Early English lancet windows in the east wall of the sanctuary at Little Snoring Church. This church is a wonderful example of how, in my opinion, a church should look, and is a million miles away from the heavy and oppressive influence of the Victorians. Little Snoring is light, airy, simple, plain and spacious, and a real joy to visit – which I have done three times – for it has fine examples of architecture spanning six hundred years. This is a Norman church, sitting on a hill, which replaced a Saxon one, the tower of which stands separately, some six feet from the existing building. If one visits on a sunny day in the spring or summer, one could, from a short distance away, swear one was in France.
Fig. 58 Fig. 59
Figures 58 and 59 show reflections of light from the east windows shown in Fig. 57.
Figure 60 shows how the lead in a Perpendicular style window frame is bent on the inside window frame in the south nave at Burnham Norton Church.
One comes across a few Norman doorways when visiting Norfolk churches, but one that stands out for its uniqueness is the south nave door of Little Snoring (Fig. 61). It has three arches – the innermost being Norman, then an Early English pointed arch (c. 1250) made from a reassembled Norman stones with a lion’s head at the apex, and then the outer arch seems to be influenced by the Crusades, being horseshoe-shaped.
The south porch is of the Decorated style. I sat on the stone benches, as people have done for seven hundred years.
Fig. 62 Fig. 63
Figures 62 and 63 show medieval monsters on bench ends at Gateley Church. Gateley is set in an isolated location and there are sheep grazing in the churchyard, which I like. I think Figure 62 is particularly effective and I am hoping to be able to use it in a future painting.