All Saints Darsham

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11 Fairfields, Darsham, United Kingdom
All Saints Darsham - ALL SAINTS DARSHAM
All Saints Darsham - ALL SAINTS DARSHAM
All Saints Darsham - ALL SAINTS DARSHAM a carved choir stall end
All Saints Darsham - ALL SAINTS DARSHAM Sir Thomas Bedingfield's monument
All Saints Darsham - ALL SAINTS DARSHAM funerary brass
All Saints Darsham - ALL SAINTS DARSHAM detail of font

All Saints Darsham Reviews

AdamR3723 AdamR3723
187 reviews
A fine country church Nov 08, 2017
Darsham (from the Old English ‘Deores Ham’, meaning deer’s home) had a church in Saxon times. The present church dates from the time when the Norman’s had arrived in Britain. In those days, the villagers’ spiritual needs were looked after by the Benedictine Monks of the Abbey of Cluny in Burgundy (France).

The church’s tower was added and built in the 16th century. The rest of the church was built about 400 years before the tower. The tower has a gargoyle above its large shuttered gothic bell-chamber windows. Each of these windows is flanked by a pair of carved heads, some with grotesque expressions. By the 17th century, it had become the custom to ring the bells when an important person travelled past the church along the road between London and Great Yarmouth, which used to pass close by the church.

The interior of the church is quite simple: white walls with very few monuments; and white-painted ceiling with dark timbers. The stone font with its wooden cover is adorned with many carved lions. Its stone base, with four lions facing in different directions faintly resembles an Indian Ashoka Pillar. The lions around the font’s basin are separated by the crests of: The Signs of the Trinity, The Passion, Edward the Confessor, and East Anglia (see: “Suffolk”, by N Pevsner and E Radcliffe, publ. 1974).

At the east end of the nave, there is a well-preserved funerary brass marking the site of the grave of Mrs Anne Bedingfield, who died in 1641. Close by on the north wall of the chancel, there is a fine carved (alabaster with colouring) monument to Sir Thomas Bedingfeild [sic], who died in 1660. A member of the Grays Inn “… eminent in the knowledge and practice of the law…”, he was made Attorney General of the Duchy of Lancaster. King Charles I made him a Judge in the Court of Common Pleas. When Charles I was executed in 1649, Sir Thomas gave up all his public employments and retired to his birthplace, Darsham.

Sir Thomas was a Member of Parliament (‘MP’) for Dunwich on Suffolk coast. During his life-time, there was not much of the once important seaport (in the Middle Ages) left in existence; most of it had been washed away by the sea, and today it exists no longer except as a memory (see: “The Lost City of Dunwich”, by N Comfort, publ. 1994). Dunwich sent two MPs to Parliament, which was ridiculous considering that more important places like nearby Aldeburgh has no representatives. In 1654, Oliver Cromwell, recognising this anomaly, asked Parliament to transfer Dunwich’s seats in Parliament to Aldeburgh, but his motion was defeated by a sizeable majority.

On the floor beneath this monument, there is a black stone with an elegantly carved lion in bas-relief. This stone marks the burial place of Mrs Emma Charlton, who was born in Ludford, Herefordshire and died in 1752. She was a child of Sir Francis Charlton of Ludford.

Another thing which attracted my attention was the carved ends of the wooden choir stalls. They have a floral motif which Pevsner describes as ‘poppy heads’. The church stands in a lovely old graveyard well planted with trees.
ALL SAINTS DARSHAM detail of font
ALL SAINTS DARSHAM
ALL SAINTS DARSHAM
ALL SAINTS DARSHAM funerary brass
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