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English Church Architecture -

Suffolk.

 

EYKE, All Saints (TM 317 518)     (December 2014 [sic])

(Bedrock:  Neogene to Quaternary, Red Crag Formation)

 

 

This is a fascinating little building (shown, above left, from the southwest), ostensibly consisting of just a chancel, nave and porch to judge from a superficial external inspection, but actually comprising the remains of a small cruciform church which once had a central tower and transepts.  The clue to its real character is the change in the masonry part way along the north wall of the nave, together with the three-light Perpendicular window with supermullioned drop tracery (illustrated above right) inserted in the blocked round-headed arch a few feet to the left (east).  This section of the nave was formerly the crossing before the tower and transepts were demolished - a state of affairs made manifest immediately one enters.  A less marked change in the rubble walling can also be made out in the corresponding position to the south, but no other remnants of Norman work can be found outside apart from one tiny window, high up in the chancel N. wall, east of the mean cross-gabled modern vestry, and, just possibly, a large round-headed window in the E. wall of the nave to the south, where it juts out beyond the line of the chancel.  Otherwise, the earliest windows in the church are Early English and consist of a renewed lancet and a window with Y-tracery in the S. wall of the chancel, and in particular, a three-light window with intersecting tracery in the S. wall of the crossing (or, as it appears, the eastern portion of the nave) (as shown below left).  The tall restored windows on either side of the nave, with flowing tracery beneath segmental-pointed arches, are obviously Decorated (but are they too tall to be original?), and the chancel N. and E. windows, the latter with supermullioned drop tracery, strong mullions and a castellated supertransom above the central light, are both clearly Perpendicular.  The nave W. window and the porch are the work of Edward Charles Hakewill (1816-72)  (D.P. Mortlock, The Guide to Suffolk Churches, pub. The Lutterworth Press, 2009), an indifferent architect from an equally indifferent architectural family.  The small mediaeval, square-headed windows have been re-set, and the inner doorway, like the nave N. doorway, carries a series of mouldings above jambs provided only with wide flat chamfers.

 

 

 

The interior of the building is both striking and surprising, for the view to the east is dominated by the low but wide, E. and W. crossing arches (as seen in the photograph, above right), each decorated with chevron on two orders, above jambs with an outer order of shafts with cushion capitals.  The E. arch is the better preserved since the hood-mould around the W. arch, and its outer order of chevron, give the appearance of having been hacked off.  The N. and S. arches are each formed of a single unmoulded order (the S. arch can be seen in the photograph below left, looking across the crossing to the southeast):  the N. arch, as we have seen, is blocked and now has a Perpendicular window set within it, but the S. arch opens into a little chapel which may or may not be part of the original S. transept, and viewed from the chapel, a large round-headed opening can be seen above the arch, which presumably was once one of the tower windows.  That round-headed window in the chapel E. wall, might be Norman but looks suspect.  However, the evidence provided by the S. window with intersecting tracery in late thirteenth century style, seems clear enough, and makes it curious that both Pevsner and Mortlock (perhaps the one following the other) should describe the chapel as "early fourteenth century".  Pevsner also ascribes the widening of the nave to the south to this time, which surely is correct, but in that case, how did he account for the difference in their masonry?  The nave extension is separated from the chapel by an arch bearing one flat and one hollow chamfer that die into the jambs.

 

     

 

 

Finally, the font is octagonal and features the Emblems of the Evangelists alternating with roses around the faces of the bowl and four lion supporters on  the stem, separated by buttresses (as shown above right). Most of the wooden furnishings in the church are Victorian work in imitation of mediaeval and Jacobean examples, and Mortlock ascribes them to Archdeacon James Darling, rector from 1893 - 1939.  However, the communion rail with turned balusters (above right) appears to be Stuart and Mortlock agrees and describes it as "Laudian" (i.e. in the manner prescribed by Archbishop Laud, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1633-45), although Pevsner said "C18".