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English Church Architecture -

Suffolk.

 

KENTON, All Saints (TM 142 578)     (October 2008)

(Bedrock:  Neogene to Quaternary, Crag Group)

 

This is a pleasant little church (shown left, from the southeast) consisting of a W. tower, a nave with S. chapel and N. & S. porches, and a chancel.   The chancel, nave windows and N. porch, which now serves as a vestry, are by Edward Charles Hakewill (1816-72) and rather well-proportioned for this architect, who has been content on this occasion to confine himself to a fairly modest First Pointed style, although the chancel arch is certainly overdone.   However, it is the rest of the church that is of interest here, and its component parts will be considered in date order, beginning with the round-arched S. doorway (illustrated below right), inside the S. porch.

 

This is Norman-Transitional work as shown by the capitals of the circular side-shafts, of water-leaf type to the west (left) and leaf-volute type to the east (right).  The shafts support three narrow rolls round the outer order of the arch, the central one of which is keeled, and the inner order carries a little flat chamfer that continues all the way round without intervening imposts. The wooden door, formed of four vertical planks, appears original externally, although its backing boards are new.

 

The W. tower is Decorated in style and rises in two stages, supported by diagonal buttresses as far up as the bell-stage, lit by a two-light W. window with reticulated tracery like the bell-openings.  It is difficult to judge whether the battlements are contemporary (although they have been patched in brick) but they are notable for their unusual flushwork motifs, of a different type to the flushwork devices more generally encountered on Suffolk church towers, as exemplified at Elmswell.  Here, by comparison, not only are the motifs connected by horizontal bands but they seem almost wholly intended to act as decoration, with little or no concern being shown to imbue them with heraldic or religious symbolism.

 

The Perpendicular S. porch is faced with knapped flint.  The outer doorway (left) is original above the springing and bears two casement mouldings, the inner decorated with carved shields at intervals and the outer, with leaves and roses.  The hood-mould is supported on label stops carved with vine leaves and bunches of grapes.  Inside, to the east, a doorway in moulded brick leads directly to the chapel.

 

This extends for two bays, to end in line with the chancel arch. Built entirely of brick, it was erected c. 1520 at the instigation of John Garneys, who was then Lord of the Manor, and has two-light supermullioned windows in moulded brick to the south, separated by a buttress, and a three-light window to the east.   The two-bay arcade between the chapel and the nave (shown right) is formed of four-centred, triple-flat-chamfered arches supported on a central octagonal pier and semi-octagonal responds with large capitals.

 

Last but not least, the church furnishings include an excellent Elizabethan bench on the N. side of the chancel, which bears the date 1595 and the initials, J.G..  The font consists of a thirteenth century bevelled bowl, decorated on each side with two blank lancets and standing on a modern base.