09 June, 2014
Suffolk Villages Part 1 Monk's Eleigh and Kettlebaston
In some of the stormiest weather I have ever experienced. Thankfully I was sitting in a car while this was going on and by the time it was time to get out the rain had stopped. With grateful thanks to R and A for kind hospitality. Our first call was Monk's Eleigh, a pretty village with an old pump on the green The church is very old with some furnishings dating from the 17th century including a wooden collecting box dated 1636 and the Royal arms from the reign of Queen Anne. While my companions and I were in the church a man and a woman came in and started to chat. They suggested we should visit Kettlebaston church which had an icon on display. I thought it would be an unnecessary distraction on the route to Lavenham but I was in for a surprise. After the twisty Suffolk roads, some little more than tracks, we saw our first sight of Kettlebaston, a decaying thatched cottage tumbled down and with vegetation growing out of the roof. The village is home to about 30 people and is typically secluded and quiet. The Church was set back behind a thick hedge of yews to keep out of sight the Anglo Catholic practices that went on in there. Apparently the Minister there for many years until the 1960s took down all the state notices, refused to keep registers and refused to recognise the Archdeacon. This clergyman said a Roman Catholic mass every day. The church still bears the signs of Anglo Catholic practises, with a statue of Jesus showing his heart on top of the Stuart holy table! The font is very early (1200) and there are some broken alabaster carvings. Kettlebaston Church also has an icon outside, which appears to depict a woman kneeling before Christ. This is the real glory of the church and the village.