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WAYSIDE ART IN EAST ANGLIA

PEOPLE

THE CLERGY

The head of a bishop carved in stone on the porch entrance to Thornham Magna Church in Suffolk.

The head of a bishop carved on the font at Nettlestead Church in Suffolk.

Four figures, possibly bishops, carved on an eleventh-century square stone font at Breckles in Norfolk.

This village sign at Flixton in Suffolk is one of the earliest to be erected in the region.  It was put up in 1921 by Sir Robert Adair, a member of the same family that rebuilt the local church in 1861.  The sign depicts the first bishop of East Anglia, Saint Felix.

Praying monks depicted in stained glass window at Gooderstone Church in Norfolk.

The figure standing in the centre of this sign at Toft Monks in Norfolk is a monk.

 

Left: A nun from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales depicted on the village sign at Weeting in Norfolk.

Right: The two monks on this village sign, who look like supporters on a shield, symbolise the fact that in the tenth century the manor at Monks Eleigh was bequeathed by Ealdorman Beorthnoth of Essex to the monks and priors of Canterbury.  (Canterbury still holds Monks Eleigh as his gift)  The year 991 AD on the sign is that of Beorthnoth’s death.  He died fighting at the Battle of Maldon.  The sign was erected in 2000 to celebrate the millenium.

On this three-dimensional glass-fibre village sign at Mattishall in Norfolk is depicted Matthew Parker, the husband of a Mattishall woman called Margaret Harlestone.  Mathew, who was born in Norwich, became Archbishop of Canterbury.  He kept a close watch on his clergy and in doing so earned a reputation of being nosey.  This was the origin of the term ‘Nosey Parker’.

Left:  The wooden figure of a monk sitting in his pulpit carved on a bench-end in the nave of St. Mary’s Church, Bacton, in Suffolk.

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This village sign at Dickleburgh in Norfolk depicts Christopher Barnard, who was rector here in the seventeenth century.  Standing by the church in the background are Oliver Cromwell and King Charles I.  An inscription below the sign explains why these three are depicted here.  It reads:

 

CHRISTOPHER BARNARD FROM LANGHAM NEAR WELLS IN NORFOLK WAS INSTITUTED RECTOR OF DICKLEBURGH IN 1622.  HE WAS DISPOSSESSED BY THE EARL OF MANCHESTER IN 1643 FOR REFUSING THE COVENANT.  SOLDIERS PLUNDERED HIS HOUSE BEFORE TAKING HIM OFF TO NORWICH CASTLE.  HIS PARISHIONERS HAD SUCH A HIGH REGARD FOR HIM THAT THEY QUICKLY FORMED THREE PARTIES, SURROUNDED THE SOLDIERS AT TIVETSHALL RAM & AFTER A VIOLENT STRUGGLE RESCUED THE RECTOR.  THE PARISHIONERS THEN HID THE REMAINDER OF HIS GOODS FROM THE SOLDIERS.  HE CONTINUED TO LIVE AT THE RECTORY WITH HIS WIFE ALICE AND THEIR TEN CHILDREN. BUT AS HE RECEIVED ONLY ONE FIFTH OF HIS NORMAL INCOME HE WAS GIVEN HELP BY THE PARISHIONERS.  HE WAS RESTORED IN 1662 & REMAINED RECTOR UNTIL HE DIED IN 1680 AGED 85.

Dickleburgh’s sign was painted a few years ago by local resident and artist Will Adams.  Replacing an earlier sign, he re-designed the picture, making the figures larger than they were before, thus making them more prominent.  He used acrylic paints on marine plywood.

The figure of a friar on the wall of a road underpass in Colchester, Essex.

Left: A stone figure representing Samuel Harsnett who became Archbiship of York.  He was born in Colchester in 1561, which is why he adorns the front of Colchester Town Hall in Essex.  He also founded nearby Chigwell School.  For a while he was vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University.  He died in 1631.

Colchester Town Hall was built in 1898, was designed by Sir John Belcher, and is now a Grade I listed building.