Syleham St Margaret
St Margarets church is located in Syleham, a village in Suffolk about 4 miles south-west of Harleston.
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Visiting Syleham St Margaret
It is the long approach down a lane from the road that is one thing memorable about St Margaret’s in Syleham. To visit a church like this in its beautiful setting on a splendid, sunny autumn day like we did is one of the joys of churchcrawling. The round tower was added in the 14th century, the same build of close-set flints all the way up. The belfry rests on a stone string course, and just above this, and round the belfry openings, is a chequer pattern of squares of light and dark flints. The brick parapet was put on in the 18th century. The four belfry openings have cusping in the heads of the lancet shapes. There is a contemporary stone framed lancet for the ground floor west window, with neatly radiating flints just above it. There is another rectangular stone-framed window on the next stage, facing south. The north nave has a blocked doorway with a brick super-arch. Above it, to the west, is a window inserted near the eaves to give light to a former gallery across the west nave. Most of the windows in the nave are large 15th century ones, but the north chancel retains its three 13th century lancets. The chancel has a higher roof than the nave does, and its east window is 19th century, while the south chancel now has 15th century windows. It is known that Alice de la Pole paid for the south porch in 1450. The entrance arch has Tudor (double) roses and fleurons round one moulding, and crowns on the inner moulding, and there is a well carved niche above. There are blank hanging shields in the moulding around the south door, two seated lions supporting the hood mould and two shields in the spandrels. These have the arms of Chaucer/Burghersh and de la Pole/Wingfield.
The tower arch is pointed, with a chamfered edge but no mouldings. In the north-west corner is a very weighty church chest, possibly dating back to the 13th century. It is large and covered with many strips of metal for security, with two triangular carrying rings on the font and smaller circular ones on the end, and several locks. This meant the Rector and both Churchwardens had to be present before it could be opened! The stone font nearby is very small, (perhaps cut down in size?), with no lead lining nor a plug hole, with a font cover of 1667. It stands on what appears to be an inverted 12th century font for the base? The pulpit dates from the 17th century and has an inverted lunette carving at the top of each side. It stands near the remains of the lower and upper entrances to the Rood stairs. The wide chancel arch dates from the 13th century. The 17th century altar now stands against the north chancel wall, and the altar rails with their fine spiralled balusters are of the same date.