Mettingham All Saints
All Saints church is located in Mettingham, a village in Suffolk about 2 miles east of Bungay.
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Visiting Mettingham All Saints
Our visit to All Saints church in Mettingham turned out to be one to remember, as the church is usually locked, but keyholders are displayed. So we phoned one of the numbers, and the Lady kindly offered to come and open the church for us. After she had shown us around, she even invited us to share lunch with her, which we kindly declined. So this one seems to be a really friendly parish church.
The tower here was probably first built in the 13th century, and is circular all the way up. The belfry openings have a simple pointed arch and there is a parapet above with alternate panels of flints and stone work. The ground floor window was inserted during the 15th century, and there are two small earlier slit windows on the first floor. The iron band circling the tower below the belfry was possibly part of the restoration in 1898. The nave is 12th century, with its west quoins formed of flints for about ¾ of the height, still with its finely carved round-headed doorway facing north. Its outer mouldings are billet shaped, then there are variations of chevrons patterns supported on scalloped capitals. At the crown of the arch is a grotesque beast head. This ancient doorway is not protected by a porch. There was a south porch, added at the same time as the south aisle, but the porch was extended in brick southwards during the 19th century to form a vestry. The south chancel has just one blocked window, still with its tracery visible, and a former priest’s doorway, also blocked. The east chancel wall has been rebuilt, and now has a gable formed of red brick from the 18th century. All the windows appear to be large 15th century ones.
The 15th century font stands in front of the pointed tower arch. It has four battered lions round its stem, each sitting on a head corbel, two male and two female. These lions are missing their forelegs! The plinth has quatrefoils round and mini-lions on the angles. The bowl has four seated lions alternating with four angels holding shields. There are engaged pinnacles on shafts on the angles of the bowl, and fleurons round the rim, in the corona alternating with heads, and in a band below the corona, which supports the bowl. There is a miniature stone font and cover, kept within the main one, which was portable so could be taken to a home in an emergency. The south arcade has two octagonal pillars separating it from the nave. There is no Rood screen, but in the chancel the south choir stalls have some re-used panels from a screen. The north side of the chancel has some 15th century bench ends. In the sanctuary there are two piscinas, each with a petalled bowl, the west one at a slightly lower level. Both have cinqefoiled arches, though the west one is more pointed and its arch has an ogee top. The north chancel window has an heraldic shield in a roundel of 15th century glass. It is for John of Norwich, who built Mettingham Castle, (1 mile to the south) in 1342 and founded a College of Priests, first at Raveningham, then Norton Subcourse, and moving here in circa 1393, taking over the Castle premises.