What to see Outside Wangford Church
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What to see Outside Wangford Church

It is well worth-while walking around the exterior of this and any church, because there is so much to admire and enjoy outside the building. It is also rewarding here toThe Churchyard at Wangford stand back and view the church as a whole. Here we have a successful combination of mediaeval and 19th century craftsmanship, which blend to create a sturdy and dignified edifice, pleasantly situated in its spacious churchyard.

The exterior has some features which are unusual in Suffolk churches. There never has been a western tower and the west end, with its four-light window, is Hanked by stately turrets, capped by spirelets, of which the northern one is mediaeval and contains a staircase to the roof. There is no clerestory and it appears that there never was one. The nave and the aisle roofs are very shallow, giving a rather squat effect and the walls of the nave and the aisle are topped by plain parapets.

The craftsmanship of the nave and aisle is mediaeval and what we see here probably dates from the mid 15th century re–ordering. It was possibly then that much of the original Norman church was destroyed. It appears that the porch is a little earlier than the aisle (built c.1475), which does not extend the full length of the nave. Above the porch, in the west wall of the aisle, is a three-light window, put here to increase the light inside the aisle, The nave and aisle windows each have three lights and are in the perpendicular style of architecture, which was fashionable in the The Churchyard is a Wildlife Sanctuary15th century. Their tracery is elegant and pleasing, particularly in the central window of the aisle, where the 15th century designer used a motif which is more typical of the decorated (early 14th century) period. The south nave wall is supported by three flying buttresses, another unusual feature, beneath which was the north walk of the cloister.

The gabled vestry, with its own entrance and double east and west windows has the appearance of a small chapel.

The chancel Is built in an adaptation of the perpendicular style, with parapets and flanking turrets to match the nave. The east window has four lights beneath which are flushwork panels, also the inscription "Johannes Rous, Earl of Stradbroke. 1875", More flushwork can be seen in the bases of the chancel and vestry buttresses and in the tower parapet. Here Blackburne has reproduced a common feature in East Anglian churches, using patterns in stone and knapped (split) flints.

The lofty tower is a fine piece of 19th century craftsmanship; its height is accentuated by the comparative lowness of the nave. It has an unusual situation at the east end of the north aisle, although this could well have been the site of its mediaeval predecessor. Its proportions are enhanced by the sturdy angled buttresses which support it and the horizontal stringcourses which punctuate Its walls. A staircase turrets ascends the southeast corner to the level of the ringing chamber. In the eastern buttress has been set a stone Looking out from the Church Tower at Wangfordcommemorating Barbara, Countess of Stradbroke (1901-77), who is also commemorated by an engraving in the eastern window on the north side of the sanctuary.

Small single windows light the ringing chamber and on the north face lies a clock, made by John Smith of Derby in 1893. The large double belfry windows are gracefully proportioned, which is not enhanced by the rather cumbersome "French" louvres. The tower is crowned by a fine flushwork parapet, which has stepped battlements and crocketted corner pinnacles. At the base of the parapet four grotesque figures peer out from the corners.

The north porch, by which we enter, appears rather humble and unassuming in comparison with the rest of the exterior. It has blocked square-headed windows on its east and west sides, of which the latter still has its external hoodmould. The outer entrance arch has semicircular responds and above it is a cinquefoil–headed niche. The floor is of brick and the stone step is well–worn, The inner entrance has an attractive continuously–moulded 14th century arch.

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