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St John Maddermarket, Norwich, Norfolk

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posted by alias Jelltex on Monday 14th of November 2022 12:47:14 PM

Pay day. Which is good. So: Dateline Norwich, Norfolk. I wake at half six, with buses and trucks heading into the city just outside the bedroom window, whatever, I slept well, so messed around online for an hour, had a shower and then went down for breakfast. Dressing first, of course. I chose the "continental breakfast", of fruit and toast, and two pots of coffee which set me for the day. I had a number of plans: first was to go to Cantley and the Limpenoe for some churchcrawling, but with the swing bridges at Reedham and Somerleyton closes for maintenance, that meant rail replacement buses. The other choice was to go to Cromer to the church there, have lunch of chips beside the seaside, beside the sea. But first, a a walk to St Stephen's on Theatre Street, as I had not been there before, and was oepn, apparently. Despite being the end of October, it was warm and humid, and would exceed 20 degrees in the afternoon. But was cloudy, and there was a chance of rain. More than a chance as it turned out. So, after breakfast I set out through Tombland, past The Halls where the beer festival was being held, and fresh supplies were being delivered. Through the market, up the steps and across from The Forum to Theatre Street where the doors of the church had just been opened. What greeted me was a fine large East Anglian church, but instead of pews or rows of chairs, was tables and chairs all set out to be a café. All churches do their best, I know, but St Stephens is now a calling point on the entrance to the once new shopping centre, the windows offer a large and bright space, but not very churchy. I made the mistake of asking a volunteer when it stopped being a church: it's still a church, and the tables can be quickly replaced with rows of chairs, it seems. I go round and get shots, but avoiding, as warned, not to get people in my shots. Its a big church, so I managed that pretty well. Ten minutes later, St Peter Mancroft opened I wanted to snap the east windows as best I could, so with my compact I did my best. A guy sat behind me and tutted loudly as I took shots and when I asked a warden if I could take a shot of a memorial in the chancel. He had the whole church to sit in, but chose to sit behind me, already taking shots, apparently just so he could complain. So screw you. I got my shots, and left, leaving a bad taste in my mouth. Outside rain had began to fall. Falling hard enough not to be pleasant. My plan had been to walk tot he station, but wasn't going to walk in this weather. So, I walked through the market, lingering as rain fell harder, then crossing to Royal Arcade before emerging onto Back of the Inns, and walking into Castle Mall, taking a series of escalators to the top, all the while hoping that by the time I reached the top, rain would have stopped. It hadn't. But I did snap the decorative paving marking the source of an ancient spring, then headed down Timber Hill to the Murderers, where I went in and had a pint. And ended up staying for another and a lunch of nachos. Last stop was St John Maddermarket, where I retook many shots, but had a long and interesting conversation with the warden about the church and the font found at St John in Folkestone. I went back to the hotel, lay on the bed for a snooze edit some shots and post them with a description which became the backbone for the previous blog post. For the evening, I had been invited for dinner at my good friend's, Sarah's. So at five, I walk up through the City to Pottergate, then along, through the underpass and estate beyond, arriving at her door at just gone six. Darkness was falling, the street was ankle deep in golden leaves, quite the most fabulous place, really. We have a drink, chat abut churches, butterflies, orchids and Norwich City, after which we eat: a kind of duck stew, which was hearty and very good. Along with that, we sup from the bottle of fruity red I had bought on the way to her house. The evening slipped by, and after walking 15,000 steps, I got a taxi back to the hotel, along fairly deserted roads, dropping me at the door of the hotel, where just inside a wedding reception was nearing its end, back in my room, I put in ear plugs and slept long and deep. --------------------------------------------- This square church is a familiar sight to shoppers, where the pedestrianised identikit shops of London Street give way to earthier Pottergate. There used to be a wonderful vegetarian restaurant on this corner, and I mourn its passing. St John the Baptist became redundant as a result of the Brooke Report, which is also sad, but understandable given the proximity of St Andrew and St Peter Mancroft. For a while, it was used by the Greek Orthodox community, which unfortunately made it inaccessible to other people, but since they moved on to the Mother of God, the building has come into the care of the Churches Conservation Trust, making it accessible again. George Plunkett's 1938 photographs show it at once familar and different, the exposed graveyard rather startling. St John the Baptist is well-known for its processional way beneath the elegant but hemmed-in tower; at one time, there was another one at the east end, through which Maddermarket Street ran; but the chancel was demolished in the late 16th century, making Maddermarket Street clear for traffic, and giving the church its square shape today. The extraordinarily high clerestory, faced in stone, accentuates the strangeness of the shape. This is a typical 15th century Perpendicular church, but the tracery of the east windows is earlier; considering that the main one is now in the place of the chancel arch, there is reason to think that they may be 19th century additions, perhaps of medieval tracery from elsewhere. The north porch, now no longer used, has a funny little turret on it. There isn't really a south porch; you step straight down in to the south aisle. Stepping inside to the dark, smoky, devotional inside, you would be forgiven for thinking that the Greeks were still in possession. In fact, this Baroque interior is almost wholly the work of William Busby, arch-Anglo-Catholic Rector in the early years of the 20th century, much of it collected from other churches, the rest made to his orders. The outstandingly ugly font shows us something of his tastes, but altogether it is certainly effective, and the chancel has a quite different 18th century feel to it compared with the rationalism of St George Colegate. The lovely Arts and Crafts Annunciation scene by the King workshop is not overpowered by all this, but would be better known and thought of in a plainer setting. This church is most famous for the enormous number of memorials, both in brass and stone. They are too many to list here, but do not miss the brass of John Tuddenham, who died in 1450. He has a complete prayer clause inscription in English. From the other side of the religious divide are the two astonishing Sotherton memorials, one of 1540 and the other of 1606, the couple in each case facing each other across a prayerdesk. The Sothertons were exactly the kind of family that powered the English Reformation, mayors and merchants who had benefited from the Black Death's freeing of capital and land to rise to prominence. Here they are, in all their glory. Simon Knott, December 2005 -------------------------------------------------- The Church of St John the Baptist, Maddermarket, is a redundant Anglican church in the city of Norwich, Norfolk, England. It is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade I listed building,[1] and is in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust There may have been a church on the site in the 11th century, but the earliest fabric in the present church dates from the 14th century. Most of the church dates from a major rebuilding between about 1445 to 1510. At some time the east end of the church was shortened.[3] There has been a tradition that this took place in 1578 when the street was widened for a visit by Elizabeth I,[2][3] but this is considered to be untrue.[4] Following this, the major changes were to the interior of the church. At some time a medieval chancel screen was removed. In 1849 a gallery was installed at the west end. Restorations took place in the 19th century; these included rebuilding the tower in 1822, and refurbishing the interior of the roof and rebuilding the walls in 1863.[3] Also in 1863 the interior was reordered.[4] There was a gas explosion in 1876, in which much of the stained glass was damaged.[3] At the beginning of the 20th century the vicar, Rev William Busby, installed items of furniture collected from other churches.[2] In 1914–15 work was done on the Lady chapel. The church was closed for Anglican worship in 1982, and used by a community from the Greek Orthodox Church until 1990, when it was vested in the Churches Conservation Trust, The church is constructed mainly in flint with stone and brick dressings. The clerestory is faced with ashlar. The aisles are roofed with lead, and the rest of the church is slated. Its plan consists of a four-bay nave and chancel in one unit, north and south aisles extending the full length of the church, north and south porches, a north vestry, and a west tower.[1] The east ends of the aisles have been converted into chapels, the south chapel being the Lady Chapel and on the north side the Jesus Chapel.[3] The church is almost as wide as it is long.[2] The tower is in four stages with diagonal buttresses. The bottom stage is open to the north and south, providing a passage for processions; the west arch is blocked.[1] Above this is a rib vault decorated with twelve carved bosses.[4] Over the west arch is a three-light Perpendicular window. In the top stage are three-light louvred bell openings on each side. The parapet is crenellated, with corner pinnacles and statues. Along the south wall of the south aisle are five buttresses, with three three-light windows in the eastern bays. The western bay incorporates a two-storey porch. Under the easternmost window is a priest's door.[1] Also on the south wall is a sundial dating from the 17th or 18th century.[3] Along the clerestory are eight three-light Perpendicular windows. At the east end of the chancel is a large five-light window with Decorated tracery, and at the east end of each aisle is a three-light window. The north porch also has two storeys. The arch over its doorway is decorated with a band of shields, and over the arch is a niche for a statue and a three-light square-headed window. At the east end of the church the altar is surrounded by a massive wooden surround, known as a baldachin. It is thought that this had been made for the church of St Miles Coslany in 1741 and moved into St John's in 1917.[4] Behind the altar is a painting of the Last Supper attributed to the Renaissance painter Livio Agresti. There is another altar in the north aisle. The font dates from 1864, and is decorated with inlaid pieces of coloured marble. The pulpit dates from the same year. Above it is a sounding board from the 17th century.[3] The revolving lectern dates from the 18th century, and is probably Italian. Around the church are memorials to local historical personages, including Thomas Rawlins, Joseph Stannard a Norwich School painter of marine-scenes, Walter Nugent Monck founder of the Maddermarket Theatre and Margaret Howard, Duchess of Norfolk, who died in 1564.[4][5] The church also houses commemorations of several mayors of the City throughout the centuries including the Southerton's, Bubbin and Ralph Segram (died 1472). Segram was a merchant who became a member of parliament and Mayor of Norwich. He commissioned a rood screen for the church, from which two panels of painted oak are now in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. One panel depicts both William of Norwich, holding a hammer and with three nails in his head, and Agatha of Sicily, holding pincers and her severed breast.[6] The other panel depicts Leonard of Noblac (holding manicles) and Catherine of Alexandria, holding a sword and a book.[7] The Layer Monument Marble polychrome mural monument circa 1600. South aisle of the west wall of the church. Located semi-obscured on the south aisle of the church's west wall is The Layer Monument, a marble polychrome mural monument installed circa 1600 to commemorate the merchant, lawyer and mayor Christopher Layer. Its four figurines housed in its pilasters, Pax, Gloria, Vanitas and Labor are sculpted in the art-style of Northern Mannerism. Collectively the Layer Quaternity use polarised and esoteric symbolism. The church also has identifiable associations with early British Freemasonry including a 19th-century headstone in its graveyard which depicts Masonic compasses along with the ancient Greek gnostic symbol of the Ouroboros. The church houses one of the largest collections of brasses in England, the oldest dating from the middle of the 15th century.[3] Most of the stained glass dates from the 19th and 20th centuries, although there are fragments of 15th-century glass in the centre window of the north aisle. The east window dates from 1870 and depicts the healing of the Centurion's servant. In the north chapel is a depiction of the Annunciation made by James Powell and Sons, and in the south chapel is a Tree of Jesse from 1916, probably by King of Norwich.[4] The two-manual organ was made in 1888 by Norman and Beard for St Peter's Church, Lowestoft.[8] It was moved to Norwich in 1904 and in 1913 it was rebuilt by Norman and Beard, and moved to the west gallery.,_Maddermarke...

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