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English Church Architecture -

Suffolk.

 

FLOWTON, St. Mary (TM 082 468)     (July 2012)

(Bedrock:  Palaeocene, Thanet Sand Formation)

This is a humble little church (shown above from the southeast) made humbler by the loss of the tower's bell-stage, probably in 1747, when it appears to have been removed for safety reasons and replaced with the present pyramidal roof (church guide).  The surviving building is predominantly late thirteenth century in date.  The nave is lit by two Y-traceried windows to the north and one to the south (to the west of the porch) and the chancel, by two to the south and one to the north (the latter, visible only inside, where it now looks through to the vestry).  The chancel E. window is a Decorated insertion, composed of cinquefoil-cusped ogee lights and reticulated tracery filled with cruciform lobing set vertically. (See the photograph below left.)  Windows of similar design are discussed in some detail under the entry for Stansfield and are found nearby at Nedging, among other places, but this is probably the most attractive example.   The three-light, four-centred window in the nave S. wall to the east of the porch, has supermullioned tracery in moulded Tudor brick, and immediately east again, there is an exceptionally wide protruding section of masonry that once enclosed the rood stair (see above and below right).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The tower is unbuttressed and constructed of uncoursed knapped flint.  Its only surviving opening is the Y-traceried W. window with a slightly flattened arch, suggesting it may be somewhat later than the Y-traceried windows elsewhere.   The cinquefoil-cusped niches on either side are probably somewhat later again.  (See the photograph, below left.)  The remains of a gable-line on the tower E. wall show the nave was once slightly steeper pitched.  The tower doorway is cut in the S. wall rather than the W. wall, and internally, the tower arch to the nave carries two flat chamfers, the inner dying into the jambs and the outer continuing uninterrupted all the way round without intervening capitals. The S. porch was originally half-timbered but the sides were rebuilt in brick as recently as 1978-84 (church guide).  The inner doorway carries two hollow chamfers.

 

Church furnishings include the thirteenth century font with a cambered octagonal bowl (seen below right), decorated on each face with two plain blank lancets, and standing on a circular stem and an octagonal base.  The piscina recessed in the sanctuary S. wall has a lancet arch bearing two narrow flat chamfers.  The chancel and nave roofs are ceiled but the ashlar pieces, wall plates, tie beams, and king-posts supporting the collar purlin, are exposed and appear largely original.