Framlingham is 19 miles north of Ipswich in the rural heart of Suffolk, four miles from Dennington and Badingham which themselves are just two miles apart. Further off the beaten track, seven miles north west, is Worlingworth whose active history group has uncovered some fascinating facts about medieval times.
Acres of arable land separated by ditches and tumbling hedgerows with many ‘hidden’ villages between.
Framlingham is bound up with the history of England itself with its ancient Royal connections. The mellow Tudor houses climb one above the other up the side of a low hill leading to the pretty market place.
The enormous chancel was built to house the magnificent tombs of the Dukes of Norfolk including Thomas Howard, one of the most powerful nobles in England during the reign of Henry VIII. Among the many other treasures of this Suffolk church are the world famous 17th century Thomas Thamar organ and the 13th century wall painting of the Holy Trinity, painted as an aid to devotion.
Built on an old pagan holy site, rededicated by early Christians, the church is lavishly decorated with flint flushwork, notably on the buttresses and battlements. The elaborate 15th century font cover, restored in the 18th century, is eye-catching for its size and decoration, and the finely carved Jacobean pews are of rare quality. The nave has a double hammerbeam roof with beautifully restored angels.
Climb the steep path and look for curious carvings on the buttresses and in the porch. The main treasure inside the church is the seven-sacrament font – one of only 14 in the county. Study it closely to see the Last Rites panel in which you can see shoes and a chamber pot under the bed.
See this interesting church if only for the wonder of the pews, from medieval benches carved with grotesques such as the mythical, large-footed sciapod, to 18th century box pews round a three- decker pulpit. Among the other treasures to discover are the very fine gilded parclose screens, a rare medieval hanging pyx (for storing the sacrament), and the Bardolph tomb in the chantry chapel.
The Angels & Pinnacles project has included workshops for schools and workshops for older people where they can learn about their local church heritage and how to take decent photographs with a digital camera.
Churches also have events throughout the year so keep an eye on these pages to find out more.
He has appeared on television with Jeremy Paxman on ‘Who do you think you are’ and with Aled Jones on Songs of Praise at St Edmundsbury Cathedral. Clive Paine’s specialism is medieval church buildings and ‘Clive Paine Let Loose’ will [...]
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