As with “St Peter and St Paul’s Church”:https://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/review/attraction/210744-review-st-peter-and-st-paul-s-church at Lavenham, Silver Traveller ESW has been there before me and written such a splendid and comprehensive “review”:https://www.silvertraveladvisor.com/review/attraction/152834-review-holy-trinity-church of “Holy Trinity Church”:https://www.longmelfordchurch.com/ at nearby Long Melford, it’s difficult to know what else to add. If you ever visit a church visited previously by ESW, you must use her review as your guide as they are so informative.
We hadn’t particularly intended to visit the church but our outing for the day, was a walk along the disused railway line from Lavenham to Long Melford. As we were passing the church, we stopped to see if it was open. Walking from the road up to the church I was amazed to find a set of splendid and well-maintained loos which I was grateful for after three hours of walking. On we went, through a modern cemetery with well-spaced graves, and found the wooden door of what is a very substantial church open.
As with St Peter and St Paul’s, there was no one around, and once again, neither visitors or volunteers to keep an eye on the gift shop.
One of the most famous pieces of stained-glass in the church was also one of the smallest and we were told to look directly above a sign to a small roundel of glass depicting three hares, each of which had two ears although there were only three between them. Some think it depicts the Holy Trinity, but the symbol has also been found painted on a Buddhist cave in China.
Another interesting feature was found in an alabaster relief called The Adoration of the Magi which dated back to 1350. It was dug up from underneath the chancel floor in the eighteenth century. Signage told us to look out for the midwife plumping the pillows and the two cows looking out from underneath the bed.
The church was in the process of restoring and conserving the medieval stained glass and cleaning the windows, which meant taking out the panes one by one and sending them to Canterbury Cathedral. The process was said to take years at a cost of £800,000 and donations were welcomed.
Brass tombs in the floor were roped off and reminded me of my childhood when brass rubbings were quite the thing, and I wondered if they were still done.
On top of the tomb of William Clopton, whose father John Clopton founded the church, lay a single red rose. He granted a guildhall and land for a market to the town of Hadleigh with a rent of one red rose per annum. Each year the payment of the rent is made by the Mayor of Hadleigh who places the rose on the tomb. It is considered to be the oldest rent paid in the UK.