English Church Architecture -
COOKLEY, St. Michael (TM 349 753) (April 2011)
(Bedrock: Neogene to Quaternary, Crag Group)
This is a small and heavily restored building (shown above from the southeast) with a single interesting feature. This is the N. doorway (illustrated below left), now enclosed within an ugly, concrete-faced modern vestry, composed of an arch decorated with three-dimensional chevron, supported on an order of shafts with carved capitals. Pevsner considered the unbuttressed tower to be contemporary but the style here is of the mid to late thirteenth century (i.e. Early English), as shown by the W. window (immediately below, on the right) and bell-openings, all of which have Y-tracery. (What Pevsner refers to as the blocked N. window into the tower could also be regarded as a blocked W. window into the nave.) The battlements, decorated by flushwork motifs, are probably a later addition.
The rest of the church consists of a chancel and nave with a S. porch, which, inasmuch as anything about them may be trusted, appear to be Decorated in the former case and Perpendicular in the latter. The nave is lit by a single three-light S. window and two, two-light N. windows (one of which is illustrated below right), with four-centred arches, little triangular subarcuations linking cinquefoil-cusped lights, and cinquefoil-cusped sub-lights above. This is a design that can also be seen at Badwell Ash among other places.
Inside the building, the easternmost S. window to the chancel has a lowered sill to act as a sedilia and there is a simple trefoiled piscina beyond. The octagonal font has angels with shields carved on the ordinal faces and crowned lions on the cardinal sides: this is mediaeval work, although the stem on which it stands is not. However, there is little else and since the church interior is dark and very musty, one does not feel particularly tempted to linger.