St Augustine’s Church

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Although just south of the busy A14, Harleston feels like miles from anywhere. The church, dating from the 12thC, is some distance from the village next to the ancient moated manor house. This is rural Suffolk at its best.

Through a gateway, a grassy track lined with silver birch trees leads to the church. It is a timeless flint building set in an equally ancient graveyard. The five old iron grave markers mark the bodies of five Armstrong children who died within six weeks of each other in 1891. The youngest was five; the eldest fourteen.

It is a small church with a thatched roof and a small wooden bell turret. The Simple Norman doorway is shielded by two yew bushes.

The inside is equally plain after a Victorian make over with plastered walls, dark varnished pews and tiled floor. The 14thC rood screen survives, a simple structure befitting a simple church with varnished panels at the base and tracery at the top. It now has a small Victorian cross on the top and four candlesticks.

There are two rows of choir stalls with weeping angels on the arms Behind these and along the east wall is heavy dark panelling.

The altar has a bright green cloth, the only splash of colour in the church along with the small cloth on the pulpit. Four very tall dark wood candlestick stand at the corners of the altar and there is a row of patterned tiles below the plain glass east window.

There is nothing special about the church. It is a quiet peaceful spot to sit and reflect. The church is always open and there is parking at the end of the grassy drive.

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