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English Church Architecture -

Suffolk.

 

BROCKLEY, St. Andrew (TL 827 556)     (October 2001)

(Bedrock:  Neogene to Quaternary, Crag Group)

 

The church stands in a quiet spot, next to the farm and away from the road, and is constructed of the usual local mix of septaria and flint rubble, some of which has been rendered.  It is a small building, consisting only of a W. tower, nave, chancel and S. porch, but there are some puzzles here concerning its development.  The tower is diagonally buttressed and rises in three stages to battlements.  The W. window has three ogee-headed lights and supermullioned tracery but the bell-openings, which are probably Victorian, have two lights and quatrefoils in circles in the heads.  Around the base of the tower is a frieze of trefoil-cusped arches in flint flushwork with an inscription to the south commemorating "Ricardus Coppynge", who presumably paid for the work, but unfortunately there is no indication of the date.  The church guide, however, considers this tower to have replaced an earlier, central one, in the fifteenth century and certainly a drawing of the church survives, made in 1838, still showing the western section of the chancel gabled at a higher level than the rest of it or, indeed, of the nave. Perhaps this did once support a bell-cote, but surely not a tower:  the walls are too thin for a start, there are no signs of former arches and, as shown in the 1838 drawing, there is not even room for one between the end of the nave and the first of the two-light Decorated windows in the chancel S. wall.  It seems much more likely that Pevsner was right when he suggested this portion of the building was once a short chancel that was later extended.

 

The nave has one cinquefoil-cusped Y-traceried window to the south and two to the north, all, perhaps, of c. 1300.  The uncusped Y-traceried window in the chancel N. wall, however, might be thought to be earlier, while the three-light E. window has renewed reticulated tracery.  Inside, the double piscina in the chancel S. wall is of the humblest kind and the chancel arch is entirely ordinary and composed of two flat-chamfered orders and semi-octagonal responds, a form commensurate with the Y-traceried window in the chancel N. wall.  There is almost nothing else to see except for a large ogee arch recessed in the S. wall of the nave that was presumably once part of a tomb canopy and, more especially, the original fourteenth century wooden S. door, still with its lock and knocker.  This predates the S. porch by some two centuries.