Tuesday, 14 May 2013

'Rambling Words from across the Border' by Dame Volumnia Spitcockle

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Blessed by the spring weather and the improving company of like-minded Ragged Ramblers, we recently ventured across the county line into deep Suffolk and the glories of the parish church of Bramfield St Andrew. Here next a crinkle-crankle wall will be found a gem of a medieval church, containing one of the most beautiful surviving rood screens in East Anglia featuring in particular a memorable St Mary Madgalen, looking as resplendent as a Medici princess in raiment fit for a queen, with down-cast hooded eyes of some allure. No penitent Magdalen she, but rather receiving her heavenly reward. Above in the screen’s vault buzzes a swarm of bee-sized angels, clearly rejoicing for her.

Step through the screen into the chancel and on the north side, facing the altar, will be found a ledger slab memorial to a lady less happily placed: Bridgett Applewhait. Reader, we were aghast at this sad lady’s misfortunes, not to say rotten luck, but such is the memorial inscription in style and phrasing as to be a cross between Grand Guignole and satire, provoking our smiling admiration for both the stonemason and the author of the text, and not least, the redoubtable Mrs Applewhait herself, whose marriage was patently less than blissful. We can only hope, dear reader, that when she was ‘thunder-strook’ a few angels came buzzing her way, eventually.

~ Dame Volumnia Spitcockle ~


  1. What an unusually rich piece of qualitative evidence this inscription provides for the historian Dame Spitcockle!