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Church of St Mary The Virgin

church front > Simply click to enlarge... then use the [Back] button to returnThe church, now a Grade II* Listed Building, was built in the early fourteenth century, circa 1320AD, on 'Holy Ground' where a church or chapel had stood since the Domesday Book was compiled.

In 1602 it was reported that the church was "lately decayed in the thatch and churchyarde walls in the stonework through the fault of the churchwardens". Oliver Cromwell's troopers billeted their horses in the church during the Civil War and much of the ornate pieces and decoration was destroyed by William Dowsing, Cromwell's Agent, in 1647 - 'Kinford Feb 6th. We gave order to take down a cross and other pictures'The Journal of William Dowsing. For demolishing the superstitious pictures and ornaments of churches etc within the County of Suffolk 1643 - 1644

church font > Simply click to enlarge... then use the [Back] button to returnThe church Registers date from 1709. In 1715 the village inhabitants applied to the Suffolk County Quarter Sessions for a Certificate allowing them to apply to the Lord Chancellor for a 'Brief towards the rebuilding of our Parish Church and Chancel'. The loss by fire and cost of repairs was calculated at 1,057. Once the Certificate was granted, the Lord Chancellor's agents sent a Brief to every parish in England authorising a collection to be taken for the Kentford costs, although it is not known how much money, and from where, actually arrived in Kentford.

In 1828 when Elisha Davey stayed at the Cock on his 'Tours of Suffolk' he found "Church had very little of interest"Collections for the History of Suffolk by Hundreds and Parishes (BRO) 

church painting > Simply click to enlarge... then use the [Back] button to returnThere were wall paintings on both nave walls and the western end of the church until relatively recently but now there are only remains on the North Wall. The area covered is 12 feet long and depicts "Les Trois Rois Vifs et Les Trois Rois Morts" (The Three Living and Three Dead Kings) and probably St Christopher was on their right. The background colour is mainly pale red with hints of green.

Three emaciated figures, almost skeletons, a toad nestling in the heart of each, meet three graceful figures of kings, clad in tunics and crowned. The legend is that the skeletons say to the kings

"As you are now, so were we once As we are now, so you will be"

church interior > Simply click to enlarge... then use the [Back] button to returnThe Nave Windows have flowing 14th C decorated tracery and there is a lovely Rose Window with cinquefoiled tracery from the same period in the tower. The well preserved Font c. 15th C has roses on each face. The Communion Plate probably dates from 1620.

The Nave seating is a series of box pews of 18th C deal seating.

Three bells by Freeman of Norwich 1735, were restored in 1954 for chiming only. The largest bell has the inscription 'R. Newman made me 1735. (Norman & Mullinger) and weighs about 9cwt. The two smaller bells are inscribed 'Thomas Newman made me. Norwich'. One weighs 6cwt, the other 4cwt.

church right > Simply click to enlarge... then use the [Back] button to returnThe Tower has been rebuilt more than once and reduced in height. The Porch dates from about 1420 and has a 18th C sundial above with the words 'TIME FLIETH LIKE A SHADOW'. The door is 18th C panelled pine and has a trefoiled niche above. The porch also contains a list of those Kentford men who served in the 1914-1918 war.

The Chancel and Nave were originally thatched but later tiled. The Chancel was restored in 1877 at a cost of 1,100 as recorded in one of the Chancel windows. The Fund for restoration was organised by the Rev. F Tearle who himself donated 50.

church nave > Simply click to enlarge... then use the [Back] button to returnThe East Window in the Chancel was completed in 1918 and commemorates Otto Lord, killed on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, and two other family members. The two-light window in the centre of the north nave wall has 1902 glass of Christ the Good Shepherd and the Virgin and Child. The window in the north side of the Chancel contains a roundel of stained glass, and a G.G. monogram with a bee on a tussock of grass as a crest. The two windows on the south side of the Chancel contain Cathedral Glass with the arms of Ely and Trinity Hall, Cambridge, the patrons of the Living up until 1971- this glass was originally in the East Window. The South Wall has a memorial to those who died in the 1914-1918 war with a quotation "Let us praise famous men their glory shall not be blotted out" (Ecclesiastes)

church layout > Simply click to enlarge... then use the [Back] button to returnApproximate layout of church

Electric light was installed in 1949 with drop lights suspended from iron brackets made by the local blacksmith and designed by the then Rector. Electric heating was installed in 1950 in memory of Henry and Frieda Lord. Floodlighting was introduced in 1967 for the east window and the 14th C Rose window in the vestry

In September 1984 the Church was transferred to the benefice of Gazeley with Dalham and Moulton - the Primrose Parishes - after the last vicar of Kentford and Higham retired and was not replaced.

 

A Forest Heath District Council (Suffolk) Project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the Millennium Festival 2000 Designed by ArtAtac