Campsea Ashe Church History and Guide

 

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Comprehensive guide to the Church

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Church of St. John the Baptist, Campsea Ashe, Suffolk Peter J Carter December 2011 The Collect St. John Baptist’s Day (from the Book of Common Prayer) Almighty God, by whose providence thy servant John Baptist was wonderfully born, and sent to prepare the way of thy Son our Saviour, by preaching of repentance; make us so to follow his doctrine and holy life, that we may truly repent according to his preaching; and after his example constantly speak the truth, boldly rebuke vice, and patiently suffer for the truth’s sake; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen This History and Guide is dedicated to the memory of Reg Oxborrow, 1924-2011. Member of the Campsea Ashe PCC for 50 years; Churchwarden of St John the Baptists for 40 years. 1

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Church of St. John the Baptist, Campsea Ashe, Suffolk Welcome to our church, and we hope that you enjoy your visit. This History and Guide is dedicated to all those who have worshipped in this place for some 700 years, to those who worship today, and to those who will worship here in the future. The church is currently one of four churches in the Benefice (Figure 1), the other three being Marlesford (St Andrew’s), Hacheston (All Saints’), and Parham (St Mary the Virgin). Three more churches – Brandeston (All Saints’), Kettleburgh (St Andrew’s) and Easton (All Saints’) – have recently become affiliated to make a wider affiliated group of seven. 2

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Contents CHURCH OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST, CAMPSEA ASHE, SUFFOLK ...................................................2 CONTENTS ..........................................................................................................................................................3 HISTORICAL BACKGROUND................................................................................................................................4 THE CHURCH OF ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST – CONTEXT & DESCRIPTION................................................................8 OUTSIDE THE CHURCH........................................................................................................................................9 THE TOWER – EXTERIOR AND FLUSHWORK .....................................................................................................10 RESTORATIONS – 18TH, 19TH AND 20TH CENTURIES ........................................................................................12 Table: Summary of Construction and Restoration in the Church...............................................................14 THE CHURCH ROOF ..........................................................................................................................................15 INSIDE THE CHURCH.........................................................................................................................................16 Table: Rectors of Campsea Ashe ................................................................................................................17 THE TOWER – INTERIOR AND BELLS ................................................................................................................19 Table: Bells of Campsea Ashe until the Millennium ...................................................................................20 THE BELLS RESTORATION PROJECT .................................................................................................................21 Table: Bells of Campsea Ashe after the Restoration Project......................................................................22 THE NAVE ........................................................................................................................................................24 THE NAVE MEMORIALS....................................................................................................................................26 THE NAVE WINDOWS .......................................................................................................................................30 THE CHANCEL ..................................................................................................................................................31 THE CHANCEL MEMORIALS..............................................................................................................................34 THE CHANCEL WINDOWS.................................................................................................................................38 THE CHURCHYARD .......................................................................................................................................44 PLAN OF THE CHURCH OF ST JOHN THE BAPTIST, CAMPSEA ASHE ...........................................50 APPENDIX I – ‘PATRONS OF THE LIVING’..............................................................................................52 APPENDIX II – CHURCH TERRIERS ..........................................................................................................53 APPENDIX III – PARISH REGISTERS .........................................................................................................55 CAMPSEA ASHE CHURCH FEES – 1907 .............................................................................................................60 TIMELINE..........................................................................................................................................................61 GLOSSARY ........................................................................................................................................................65 EVOLUTION OF THE CHURCH FABRIC 12TH C TO 21ST C....................................................................72 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS AND SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY ...............................................................73 INDEX .................................................................................................................................................................76 THE FIGURES...................................................................................................................................................83 3

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Historical Background Campsea Ashe is a village of about 350 souls and 1800 acres, lying eight miles west of Aldeburgh on the Suffolk coast, and two miles due east of Wickham Market (Figure 2). Most of the village sits on comparatively elevated ground - about 25 metres (80 feet) above sea level - midway between the rivers Ore to the north and Deben to the south. The B1078 road winds through the village from Wickham Market to Tunstall, and bridges the East Suffolk Railway line (built in 1859) beside the seemingly mis-named Wickham Market station. From here passengers travel either southwards to Ipswich and London Liverpool Street, or northwards to Halesworth and Lowestoft. First impressions of Campsea Ashe might be of an unobtrusive, rather unremarkable scattering of houses old and new, amongst farmsteads and parkland, passed en route to the attractions of the coastal forest belt, quaint seaside towns or perhaps the world-renowned Aldeburgh Festival. The motorist may notice the sale yard, the vestiges of railway buildings – including what is now the village pub – the sweep of the railway bridge itself, and the church with its high square tower. But, as with so many English backwaters, behind this mundane façade lies a rich history of people and events receding centuries into the past, and leaving a social bedrock for its present and future inhabitants. The precise origins of the village name have become lost in the passage of time, but it seems to have arisen from the conjoining of the ancient Manors of Campesia and Esce, loosely defined but recorded side by side in the Domesday Book of 1086. Campesia, supporting about 27 families, was broadly the southern tract of land from the Deben flood plain at Loudham across to Rendlesham; Esce was the more northerly, and slightly smaller, swathe from what is now the Lower Hacheston to Marlesford section of the A12 trunk road across to the boundaries of neighbouring Blaxhall and Tunstall. Domesday records a population of about 16 families in Esce. A simplistic derivation of the original settlement names may stem from it having been an ancient Saxon or Viking ‘camp’ set amongst ash trees, though it has been suggested that ‘camp’ may even be a corruption of the Norse name ‘Kampi’. Spelling variants have also abounded through historical sources, and include Ashe juxta Campessy and Ash by Campsey as well as the individual names Campesse, Capsea, Camesy, Ayssch, Asshe and so on. Even today the village answers either to ‘Campsea Ashe’ or ‘Campsey Ash’, though the former is the more generally used. The village Manors were owned by Saxon lords before the Conquest but, in line with the entire Norman subjugation of England, they were taken over by replacement rulers and the original masters dispossessed. From the late 11th Century onwards we see a picture of Norman ownership and administration across the manors and sub-manors of East Anglia, and the imposition of the feudal hierarchy in which the original owners were reduced to tenant status. Ownership became increasingly more complex as parcels of land were allocated and re-allocated amongst the leading families. The local picture is best viewed geographically, and even then to an approximation, starting across the south and west of the village in Campsey. Sources are obscure, but until the 13th Century, Campsey was apparently owned in part by the Norman de Berri family, and later by the de Thoese and de Weyland families. Meanwhile, in 1195, 4

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Theobald de Valoignes (a descendant of Peter de Valoignes who came to England with William the Conqueror) bequeathed his own substantial part of Campsey manor to his sisters Joan and Agnes “for the erecting of a Nunnery there to the honour of God and the glorious Virgin”, thus founding the Augustinian abbey shortly afterwards. Remnants of the abbey can still be glimpsed along the Loudham road. It had an interesting history, and itself became the mother church for a Chantry College founded in 1348 by Maud, Countess of Ulster, herself a descendant of King Henry III. Maud had married into the de Ufford family, later the ‘2nd creation’ Earls of Suffolk, and had taken the veil after the death of her husband. The Nunnery, variously known as Campsey Priory or Ashe Abbey, was reputed to be one of the most prominent in East Anglia, but was valued at only £182.9s.5d for its dissolution by Henry VIII in 1536. It then passed to Sir William de Willoughby (of Parham) afterwards Lord Willoughby. The other manor of Esce or Ashe, broadly to the north and east, in fact was a Sub-Manor of Framlingham. It had been part of the estates of the Bigod family, who had also come to England with the Conqueror, but its ‘tenant-in-chief’ was Roger Malet, another powerful associate of King William. Around 1200, perhaps prompted by the bequest and separation of the nunnery in Campsey, Ashe itself was split into two semi-independent Manors of Park Farm (roughly the south eastern area of the present village) and Ash Moor (more central and to the north-west). Since the Middle Ages these two halves of Ashe have been predominant in the affairs of Campsea Ashe village. In particular Park Farm (also known as Park House) has been influential on the church as the residence of Patrons through to the 20th Century, while the owners of Ash Moor, and latterly the ‘High House’, have had a more secular influence as benefactors. Park Farm seems to have been owned through Norman and Medieval times both by the Bigods and by the Howard family (eventual ‘4th creation’ Earls of Suffolk). Again, records are difficult to interpret, but an ‘Auction Court of Chancery’ was held around 1640 between the Glowers and Braumes [sic] which saw further re-allocation of land. The Brame (Braham) family in turn became the formal Lords of the entire Manor of Ashe. Considerably later the estate came into the possession of the Thelluson family, who in 1806 were raised as Barons Rendlesham in the Peerage of Ireland. The earliest Park House is thought to be the original Manor House of Ash, and there is speculation that it may formerly have been the site of the old Chantry House, though this is uncertain at this distance from the abbey grounds. However, it was renamed Chantry Farm in 1922. Neighbouring Ash Moor (‘Ashmoor’ or sometimes ‘Morehill’) also had Norman and Medieval owners up to the end of the16th century, but it was purchased from Lord Richard Wentworth by the Glover family, servants to the Dukes of Norfolk. This was around 1580. On the eastern edge of the village the construction of the ‘High House’ - so named because the original building was four stories high is said to have been started by the Glovers, and finished in 1600 as the centrepiece of the 140 acre Campsea Ashe Deer Park. This estate was sold to the eminent Sheppard Family of Mendlesham in 1652, in whose hands it remained for the following 230 years, and during which time they were Lords of the Manor of Campsea Ashe. The first Sheppard owner of the High House was John who, with his wife Bridget, took up residence in Campsea Ashe. Through his maternal grandfather, John Lane, Sheppard had acquired land in the village, including the old Priory buildings which had been purchased from their original owner, Sir William de Willoughby of Parham, shortly after the dissolution. The former name of the village pub in Campsea Ashe was The Talbot, derived from the 5

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crest of the Sheppard family (as Shepard, with the single p spelling variant), being “a talbot’s head sable issuing from a tower or.” Parham’s village pub, until its closure in 1987, was The Willoughby Arms. The Sheppard family became extinct in Campsea Ashe when the last of its line, John George Sheppard, died without heirs in 1882. In turn the High House and estate were sold by auction to James William Lowther (1855-1949), Member of Parliament and Speaker of the House of Commons from 1905-1921; descended from the Earls of Lonsdale, Lowther was created the first Viscount Ullswater in 1912. In late Victorian and Edwardian times the High House was the centre of society in the village, and its gardens were of national importance, having been influenced by the work of Gertrude Jekyll. They featured elaborate water gardens with ‘canals’, long tree-lined avenues, and an arboretum of elms, horse chestnuts and cedars, many of which are still in place. The High House became dilapidated after the Viscount’s death in 1949, and was dismantled shortly afterwards. From 1952 until 1999 the estate was owned by Lt. Col. R. S. Schreiber, whose family had lived for 100 years in Marlesford, and his wife Rosemary. Some of the original buildings’ remnants have been converted to residential use, and much of the parkland remains. Historical sources provide scant evidence of any direct linkage between the Augustinian Abbey church and the Parish Church of St John the Baptist, and the conclusion must be that in spite of their geographical proximity they functioned quite separately. While the former was a closed monastic / collegiate community with its satellite Chantry, dedicated primarily to its governing Order, the latter was the village place of worship, pastoral affairs and burial of the dead, with allegiance to the mother Diocese of Norwich. In medieval times it may perhaps have been something of a focus for more secular activities as well. Our village church cannot lay claim to status, architecture or content of any great note, nationally or even regionally, save perhaps for a single rare 16th century memorial brass, and even this is damaged. Some years ago a former Rector of Campsea Ashe wrote that “the inside of the Church is not beautiful … the Nave is very long and narrow; it has a whitewashed ceiling, three ugly big windows with plain glass … cheap and nasty stained deal seats” and more recently, with disarming honesty, a Churchwarden summed it up as “an outstanding example of nothing in particular”. But these comments are misleading and a little unfair, not because they are wantonly untrue or malicious – far from it - but because they are casual remarks, out of context, speaking of a familiar, functional building without serious regard to what it represents. As an example of a typical English Parish Church that has stood for seven centuries, that has been central to the lives of the people who built it, and who have worshipped in it since, it is indeed outstanding. More than that, it is perfectly representative of the micro-society that is the English Village: it is our community’s heart and soul, where countless parishioners from all strata of society have been baptised, married and commemorated, and where friends and relatives have said their farewells to those who have passed away, both in peace time and in war. The church has its place in the unbroken and subtly organic patchwork of settlement that has been England since Norman times and before. Its lofty tower is visible from the neighbouring villages; the bells it contains are audible from the neighbouring villages. Its Nave and Chancel contain enduring 6

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memorials 1 in stone, wood and glass to the gentry, benefactors, churchmen and ordinary people who have nurtured their place of worship for centuries, and in its churchyard lie the bones and ashes of those who have lived and died in the village, or who have been so intimately associated with it that they have become part of its very soil. This small booklet aims to show that, in all these respects, and yet like so many other parish churches throughout the land, St John the Baptist Campsea Ashe is indeed a Beautiful Something in Particular. 1 All the Church memorials are fully described in the leaflet “Memorial Trail at St John the Baptist Church, Campsea Ashe” by Shelia Holmes, August 2011. 7

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The Church of St. John the Baptist – Context & Description Remains of Norman (11th/12th century) work on the site have been discovered in the masonry footings of the church but the main structure of the present building dates from the early-mid 14th century. The first Rector was appointed in 1312, when the first recorded ‘advowson’ was presented by the then ‘Patron of the Living’, Alice, Countess of Norfolk, widow of Roger Bigod [see Appendix I]. This was the time of the hapless Edward II, the 50-year reign of Edward III and the decline of the Plantagenet dynasty with Richard II - a century of intermittent fighting with Scotland and the start of the Hundred Years War with France – Bannockburn and Crecy the historical landmarks. But for the common man, the two great social upheavals irrevocably to shape English society were the ravages of the Black Death which struck the comparatively prosperous East Anglia in 1349, indiscriminately reducing the population by about one third, and the social changes painfully brought about by this and the Peasants’ Revolt against the infamous poll-tax in the 1380s. All the while was the preoccupation with church building, surging ahead at an unprecedented rate throughout the length and breadth of England, drawing constantly on the time, skills and resources of a population already at full stretch. Viewed as a whole, towards the eastern end of the church some slanting of the walls can just be detected, perhaps from settling or subsidence from earliest times, and this suggests that the Chancel was where reconstruction began on the Norman site, probably around the very early 1300s. The Nave may then have been added slightly later in the century, with the tower at least started shortly afterwards; in any case the tower would have taken several decades to complete, and indeed the elaborate flint decoration around the parapet may not have been finished until some years into the 15th century, when this flamboyant work was in its hey-day. These timescales also mean that the men who began building the tower would never have seen its completion. The church itself is distinctively long and narrow, stretching nearly 120 feet (36½m) externally from the tower to the east end elevation, and being only about 25 feet (7⅔m) for most of its width. It is chiefly built of flint, but has limestone finishing and some infill of stone and brick. All corners have diagonal buttresses and there are matching angle buttresses along the sides. There are no side aisles, chapels or transepts so the basic layout is very simple (Figures 3 & 4). A 19th century organ-chamber and Tudor vestry of red brick extend to the north from the Chancel, and the main Porch, also Victorian (but replacing an earlier one), gives access to the south western end of the Nave. It is estimated that the church can accommodate up to 200 persons. 8

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Outside the church Your first sight of the church may well have been the white ‘spirelet’ on top of the tall, rather narrow and embattled tower which is 76 feet (23m) high, and usually visible from a mile or so around the village in almost any direction. The church is near the road, the remainder of God’s Acre stretching behind it to the edge of the Old Rectory grounds. There are several entrances to the churchyard, the foremost being beside the main road through the village. This entry is through the Lych Gate, dated 1937 to celebrate the coronation of George VI. This elegant little structure has a neat brickand-cobbles floor, a sturdy chestnut frame and a steeply pitched roof of cedar shingles; it was designed by a Mr Sandon of Bredfield and built in 1938 by a Mr Johnson of Wickham Market at a cost of £110 (about £4,000 in today’s terms); lamps in the Lych Gate are dedicated to the memory of Lt. Col. Schreiber of the High House Estate, who died in 1978. At the eastern edge the churchyard, along the road to Rendlesham, is a rear gate set in the pillars of a rustic brick wall. There is also a short path through to the adjoining Old Rectory to the west. Approaching the tower from the Lych Gate you pass round the West Door, thought to be a late 15th or even 16th century addition to the church, and guarded by its two time-worn corbel-stop lions 2. The west door is rarely used, but take care not to trip on the two iron boot-scrapers. In the door mouldings are small shields and rosette-like paterae decorations or ‘fleurons’, and there is a pair of larger blank shields in the spandrel panels beside the door arch; above the arch is a third blank shield which forms the centre-piece of the quatrefoil string course of flint running beneath the west window. Very similar shields, incidentally, are to be found in the spandrels of the south doorway of St Andrew’s Church, Marlesford - the adjacent parish to the north in our benefice - though these are intact and include designs representing the Holy Trinity and the Passion. Any such designs on display so obviously in Campsea Ashe would have been ready targets for the iconoclasts of the Reformation, or of Oliver Cromwell’s Commonwealth, and this may explain why our shields have been erased 3. 2 The lion has appeared in Christian art since the 5th century and is based on the beasts of the throne described in Revelations 4; also on the traditional interpretation of Ezekial 1 v.4-12 3 Similar defaced shields are to be seen on the West Door of St Michael’s Church, Tunstall, two miles east of Campsea Ashe. 9

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The Tower – Exterior and Flushwork Much of the tower construction, particularly its buttresses and decorative detail, is of typically East Anglian knapped flint flushwork, though coarser ball or ‘rubble’ flints and some ancient brick have been used in the higher sections. Flush trefoil panelling surrounds the base of the tower on the south, west and north faces, and more elaborate canopy–headed panels alternate with trefoils on the raised ‘merlon’ sections of the parapet. The two small bell-chamber windows of the tower (in the north and south elevations), the four upper-storey louvre surrounds and the corner buttress edges are of limestone, the former with puckish-faced corbels supporting their arches. Internally the tower walls are filled with crag, and narrow with successive storeys from about four feet (1¼m) thick at their base to approximately 18 inches (½m) at the top. The tower walls in the south-west corner enclose a spiral (purists might prefer the term “circular newel”) staircase 30 feet (9m) high and four feet (1¼m) in diameter, leading firstly to the newly installed ringing gallery and then further upward to the bell-chamber (the former ringing gallery). Tiny windows serving this staircase can just be discerned part way up the edges of the south and west elevations. The battlements forming the top five feet (1½m) of the tower are of decorative flushwork, and are literally the crowning features of the church. Best viewed through binoculars (which unfortunately most church visitors will not have at their disposal!), this Parapet incorporates the above-mentioned trefoil and canopied panels, plus eight panels of crowned religious symbols and stylised letters in ‘Lombardic’ script, of which three are particularly significant. High on the east face is the IHS Christogram overlaid with an ‘S’ motif, regarded as signifying either the Latin abbreviation jh[esu]s or alternatively ΙΗΣ the first three letters of "Jesus" in Greek. The ‘S’ overlay indicates sanctus or ‘Holy’. In the adjacent panel are the intertwined initials SI (SJ), almost certainly signifying a monogram of St. John the Baptist to whom the church is dedicated. Moving clockwise to the south face of the tower (Figure 5), the next panel displays the Sacred Monogram of the Blessed Virgin or ‘Marian’ symbol – the AMR cipher signifying Ave Maria Regina. This cipher occurs very often in church decoration, notable examples being in the flushwork of nearby St Mary’s Church in Woodbridge and, within our own benefice, around the Porch of St Mary the Virgin, Parham. The complete series of crowned letters & symbols, clockwise from the east face, is as follows:- East IHS SI South K AMR West AH North KH Individual letters are open to some interpretation but, because they are crowned, are more likely to refer to saints or martyrs rather than (as they occasionally do) church benefactors or the masons themselves. K would denote St. Katherine and H St. Helen, for example. The high quality of the flintwork strongly suggests it is the work of the Aldryche company of master masons from North Lopham in Norfolk, and a good deal of similar work is to be found throughout East Anglia, possibly 10

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having been distributed as prefabricated masonry units to distant construction sites. The Aldryche workshop was at its most active from the mid 15th century onwards, further indicating that the tower would have been completed, or at least embellished, perhaps 100 years or so after construction began. This would be consistent with East Anglia’s continuing rise in prosperity at this time, particularly when the wool trade was thriving and local churches became vehicles for displaying the wealth and aspirations of their patrons, especially through the addition of parapets, buttresses and so on. A series of rounded gargoyles, interspersed with some smaller grotesque faces and corbels, surrounds the base of the battlements, with only the largest north- and south-facing ones acting as genuine drainage points, having extended water spouts. Standing on the four corners of the battlements are some unusual upright figures of sacred or mythical beasts, thought to symbolise the four apostles, but now too worn to be identified. The pair on the north side of the tower are of original stone, heavily eroded, while the southern pair are deeply weathered hardwood replicas. These peculiar tower features enjoy a practical affection within the village. A Suffolk county guide from the 1940s records part of one of the broken figures being “in the safe keeping of the vicar” and more recent local folklore mentions the beasts undergoing temporary repairs following storm damage using metal parts recovered from a scrapped car bumper! The whole tower is protected by a shallow, lead covered, double-pitched roof, from the centre of which rises the unusual wooden spirelet adding another 15 feet (5m) or so to the overall height. Painted white, it is topped with a pennant-style weather vane that bears the inscription “S.K. 1789” to mark restoration work carried out while the Rev. Dr. Samuel Kilderbee was Rector. (It has been suggested, incidentally, that the two wooden replica figures on the tower also date from this restoration, in which case their preservation is remarkable). The spirelet suffered some damage in the great storm of 1987, and was further damaged during another storm in 1991. Repairs were swiftly completed and so the small white pinnacle remains the distinctive icon of our village. 11

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Restorations – 18th, 19th and 20th centuries Sadly there is little or no recorded information on the fabric or history of the church prior to the 18th century, but from the 1780s onwards a great deal of maintenance and restoration has taken place, amounting to what some commentators have disparaged as a ‘complete rebuild’. At the end of the 18th century, and again in the late 19th, both major elevations of the Nave and Chancel were substantially re-styled, receiving new flint-work, pieces of limestone and brick insert, and extensive re-fenestration: some of the windows were reduced in size, and matching stone tracery was added. On the south frontage of the church there is some evidence of where this restoration work took place, essentially in two short phases – the first between 1789-92 under the stewardship of the Rev. Kilderbee, and the second about 80 years later between 1869-70 when the incumbent was the Rev. Henry Knatchbull. In the flint-work of the Nave it is just possible to trace some outlines of former features such as a small roof gable immediately to the east of the present Porch, and some evidence of the larger window arches. A small stone tablet between the two eastern windows of the Nave commemorates the first restoration with the text “King & Sutton, Churchwardens - 1792”. It was during the Victorian restoration (1869-70) that the Chancel was re-faced with knapped flint, and at the same time the old Porch was repositioned sideways ten feet (3m) to the western end of the Nave. Excavations for drainage ground-works in 1998 exposed the foundations of this earlier Porch, indicating it to be a little longer and narrower than today’s, and floored with brick. As a result of its move the Porch swapped places with the westernmost window, which was refashioned to replace the original entrance and create a well proportioned elevation with the Porch (also re-faced) and a neat line of three evenly spaced windows leading to the buttress on the right. Also in 1869-70 the doorway in the south Chancel wall was made smaller and a window added immediately to the west of it. It is said that redundant masonry from this work was used at the time by the Rev. Knatchbull to create rockeries in the adjacent Rectory garden – a fine example of recycling - and one of his successors, the Rev. F. G. L. Lucas, noted in 1909 that he “lately discovered amongst these stones … the [old Porch] stone bearing the inscription “S.K. 1792””. Final alterations to the church’s south façade were not completed until 1914 when the central window of the Nave was adjusted to match the other two, stone tracery being substituted for the old and decaying wooden frame. Writing in the Churchwardens’ Account Book in late 1870, the Rev. Knatchbull makes the following statement, no doubt with some satisfaction: “Gentlemen - In pursuance of my undertaking in my letter to you dated April 2nd 1869, which was in substance that I would … carry out the church restoration &c. in full, according to the plans and agreements then laid before the meeting - I have now to report that the whole of the church works are completed and the accounts duly balanced …” He adds that “… there remains still to be restored 4 windows to match the new one in the Nave” thus anticipating some of the additional building work that was to be carried out on the north frontage over the following years. The church accounts record that the 1869-70 restoration and sundries cost £852-7s-5d. Comparisons with the present day are notoriously difficult because of the relative costs of labour, 12

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craftsmanship, commodities and such like, but an estimate for an equivalent cost in the early 21st century could easily exceed £70,000. (Interestingly, the books show that the Rector contributed no less than £481-11s-3d - over 56% of the total! - from his own resources, local landowners Lord Rendlesham £200 (24%) and Mr. Sheppard £100 (12%), with the Rector’s private friends and other sources making up the difference. This begs the question of how and why the Rev. Knatchbull could afford such sums, but is explained by the fact that he appeared to be from wealthy stock: his lineage is not clear, but he is believed to be the son of the Rt. Hon. Sir Edward Knatchbull, 9th Bt., FRS, MP for Kent, Privy Counsellor and Paymaster General to Sir Robert Peel). To house the new organ, installed in 1878, the organ-chamber was added on the north side of the Chancel, of similar size to the Porch and constructed with knapped flint to match. There is also a small trefoil window in the north wall of this chamber. A few years later in 1882-83 a new window was made half-way along the Nave, “inserted in the north wall to complete the design without interfering with the north central buttress” again according to the Churchwardens’ Account Book. The early years of the 20th century up to the outbreak of war saw yet another phase of intense restoration and enhancement, this time owing much to the patronage of the two predominant families in the village – the Lowthers at the High House and the Thellussons of the Rendlesham Estate. (Indeed such is the largesse of these two families towards the church that one suspects some rivalry between them!) Along with the south frontage refinements completed in 1914, stone tracery was at the same time put into two windows on the north side of the Nave, this making all alike. The lasting effect here has been to complement the style of the south side with a subtle rotational symmetry, by the creation of a similar line of evenly spaced windows leading from the organ-chamber towards the tower on the right. An interesting contemporary note on fundraising made by the Rector comments that “a Sale of Work to defray the cost of the two North Side windows was organised to be held at the High House on August 6th, but owing to the outbreak of war on August 4th, it had to be put off … [it was later] held in the Rectory garden on September 6th 1915 to clear the debt on the church windows. The required amount was obtained”. The student of church architecture would benefit from a visit to St Michael’s Church Tunstall, two miles east of Campsea Ashe. This is remarkably similar to how St John the Baptist would have appeared in its pre-restored configuration, in terms of date, size and shape. For instance, it has a more central porch, plain large windows, a brick vestry and horse-box pews, and it is generally a little less ornate, seeming not to have enjoyed so much 19th Century attention. It also has examples of fine flint flushwork, though unfortunately damaged on its tower parapet. The table below gives a rough summary of the building phases, repairs and restorations that have been carried out on the church:- 13

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Table: Summary of Construction and Restoration in the Church Period 12th Century 14th Century 16th Century 18th Century 19th Century 20th Century Major Construction Notes Norman stonework remains have been found in the masonry footings of the church. The Chancel was started during the early 1300s, the Nave slightly later. The Tower (14th C.) took several decades to complete, with the fine parapet flint decoration & lettering being finished in the mid-15th C. The men who began building the Tower would never have seen its completion. The Tudor Vestry was added on north side of the chancel. During the Reformation the West Door at the base of the Tower was probably defaced by having its armorial shields and other decorations erased. Much restoration from 1780s onwards: the first phase by the Rev. Dr. Samuel Kilderbee (Rector 1784–1817) was to repair/restyle the Nave and Chancel walls with additions of flint, limestone & brick inserts, and several windows were modified. The Tower was substantially refurbished internally, and externally its roof and ‘spirelet’ were renewed. The pennant-style weather vane has initials “S.K.1789”, and a stone tablet between the two eastern windows of the Nave records “King and Sutton, Churchwardens, 1792”. Further work was instigated by the Rev. Henry Knatchbull (Rector 186776) in late 1860s. The Chancel was refaced with knapped flint and the Porch repositioned to western end of the Nave, swapping places with the western-most window. Other Nave windows were also refashioned and the remaining ones earmarked for restoration soon afterwards. The south Chancel doorway was made smaller and a memorial window added to the west of it. The new Organ (1878) and Organ Chamber were added on the north side of the Chancel, of similar construction to Porch. In the mid1880s memorial windows replaced plain ones centrally on the Nave’s north side and at the eastern end of the south side. In each case the windows were slightly reduced in height. Early 20th C. refinements were made to south frontage by the two predominant families in the village – the Lowthers at the High House and the Thellussons of the Rendlesham Estate: a final memorial window conversion and the addition of stone tracery on the remaining windows. Additional memorial windows were also added to Chancel. Along the south elevation there is evidence of restoration with marks of earlier gables & window frames 14

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The Church Roof The roof of the Nave is of robust, Westmoreland green slate with a plain ridge. Believed to have been re-roofed during the late 19th century, some faint traces of a former, slightly higher ridge can just be made out on the east face of the tower wall. The Chancel roof, of smaller slate finished with red, tooth-decorated ridge tiles, has a slightly higher ridge than the adjoining Nave and, because of correspondingly lower walls, has a slightly steeper pitch. Both eastern gables of the Nave and Chancel were at one time topped with decorative, stylised Celtic crosses (photographs show as recently as the early 20th century), but alas only the Nave’s remains to any extent. Similarly, the Porch and organ chamber roofs are of slate but – unfortunately again – the former’s gable cross is missing with only the stump of its plinth remaining. Another feature of the organ chamber roof, on its eastern edge and standing beside the vestry chimney, is the old Service or ‘Priest's’ Bell visible between the uprights of its wooden frame. This may still be rung from the vestry as a precursor to services but is now only likely to be used as an occasional alternative to the dedicated Service Bell re-instated in the tower in 2010. 15

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