I had sought this church out primarily as my family (through my grandfather's step father) has connections to Cowlinge (pronounced Coolinj). However what a gem of a church we discovered, and unlocked too.
The red brick tower is 18th century (1733) and the rest of the building seems to be a complete mixture of styles with red brick buttresses holding the walls up in many places.
Inside is beautifully kept and there is much to see. Here are two views of the nave, looking east and west. The nave and aisles date from a rebuilding of 1330-40 and the nave is covered with a 14th century tie beam and crown post roof.
On the inside the first thing that catches your eye is the painting over the chancel arch. It depicts St Michael weighing a sinner against his sins (on the south side), with the Virgin Mary on the north intervening on behalf of the sinner by pushing down the scales with a long stick. Notice too the decorative paintwork on the chancel arch itself. When the colours were fresh this church must have been vibrant!
This wall painting (contrast enhanced electronically) may be St John the Evangelist. It is on the wall in the south aisle.
The pipe organ stands at the easterly end of the north aisle. It is a two manual and pedal instrument by Lewis with seven speaking stops.
As well as a pipe organ, there is a harmonium standing against the north wall of the chancel.
The tower was built by Francis Dickins (following the collapse of the earlier one). He is commemorated by this enormous monument on the north side of the chancel which seems very out of place. It was made by Peter Scheemaker, who also carved the bust of William Shakespeare in Westminster Abbey.
Also in the chancel is this hatchment.
Here is a view looking back into the nave through the gorgeous rood screen (c.1400), complete with full height doors. Of course the loft has long gone. Quite why the two lecterns are hidden behind the doors is a bit of a mystery.
Above the west gallery hang the Royal Arms of George II which also has the names of the two church wardens, George Finton and Henry Seabrook, who erected it. The picture has been electronically straightened.
The south aisle has a chapel at its easternmost end which is enclosed by a beautiful 15th century parclose screen.
To the left of the altar is the old staircase to the former rood loft and a squint into the chancel.
Above the altar is a window dating 1931 commemorating Gilbert Augustus Tonge, 6th August 1857 - 26th June 1927. It depicts Jesus with the fishermen at Gallilee. Click on the image to see a larger version.
The octagonal font dates from about 1400. Here is is decorated for the harvest festival.
Here is a view of the building from the south.
And one from the north, straight into the sun!
Here is a final view of the red brick tower. There is much old graffiti on its southern wall scraped into the soft bricks. Don't add to it! The tower contains a ring of five bells.
Visitors to this album since June 2003
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