History of Suffolk - Relics

Relics

Of monastic remains the most important are those of the great Benedictine abbey of Bury St Edmunds; the college of Clare, originally a cell to Bec Abbey in Normandy and afterwards to St Peters Westminster, converted into a college of secular canons in the reign of Henry VI, still retaining much of its ancient architecture, and now used as a boarding-school; the Decorated gateway of the Augustinian order priory of Butley; and the remains of the Grey Friars monastery at Dunwich.

A peculiarity of the church architecture is the use of flint for purposes of ornamentation, often of a very elaborate kind, especially on the porches and parapets of the towers. Another characteristic is the round towers, which are confined to East Anglia, but are considerably more numerous in Norfolk than in Suffolk, the principal being those of Little Saxham and Herringfleet, both good examples of Norman. It is questionable whether there are any remains of pre-Norman architecture in the county. The Decorated is well represented, but by far the greater proportion of the churches are Perpendicular, fine examples of which are so numerous that it is hard to select examples. But the church of Blythburgh in the east and the exquisite ornate building at Lavenham in the west may be noted as typical, while the church of Long Melford, another fine example, should be mentioned on account of its remarkable lady chapel.

Remains of old castles include part of the walls of Bungay, the ancient stronghold of the Bigods; the picturesque ruins of Mettingham, built by John de Norwich in the reign of Edward III; Wingfield, surrounded by a deep moat, with the turret walls and the drawbridge still existing; the splendid ruin of Framlingham, with high and massive walls, originally founded in the 6th century, but restored in the 12th; the outlines of the extensive fortress of Clare Castle, anciently the baronial residence of the earls of Clare; and the fine Norman keep of Orford Castle, on an eminence overlooking the sea. Among the many fine residences within the county there are several interesting examples of domestic architecture of the reigns of Henry VIII and Elizabeth. Hengrave Hall (c. 1530), north-west from Bury St Edmunds, is a noteworthy example an exceedingly picturesque building of brick and stone, enclosing a courtyard. Another is Helmingham Hall, a Tudor mansion of brick, surrounded by a moat crossed by a drawbridge. West Stow Manor is also Tudor; its gatehouse is fine, but the mansion has been adapted into a farmhouse.

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Famous quotes containing the word relics:

    Oh! breathe not his name, let it sleep in the shade,
    Where cold and unhonour’d his relics are laid.
    Thomas Moore (1779–1852)

    That age will be rich indeed when those relics which we call Classics, and the still older and more than classic but even less known Scriptures of the nations, shall have still further accumulated, when the Vaticans shall be filled with Vedas and Zendavestas and Bibles, with Homers and Dantes and Shakespeares, and all the centuries to come shall have successively deposited their trophies in the forum of the world. By such a pile we may hope to scale heaven at last.
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    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)