All Saints, Cockley Cley

I may be strange, but I feel quite pleased when I find a church locked, with a note in the porch advising from where to collect the key. My visit to All Saints happened to be one of those occasions, and after a quick trip next door to the friendly pub, I soon had in my hands on a very big and very old key. There is something magical about church keys. Often large and worn, they tend to resemble what I imagine a key to a fairytale castle would look like. Placing it in the lock, I tried to picture all the people, whose many hands had turned it over the years, each anticipating what lay beyond the door.

The majority of the church dates from the 14th century and it once sported a fine, round Norman tower, which unfortunately collapsed in 1991. In the 1860s the building underwent extensive restoration by local architect, Richard Phipson, who also carried work out at All Saints, Horstead. Phipson was, however, more famously known for being responsible for the rebuilding of St Mary-Le-Tower Church over the border in Ipswich, Suffolk. 

In the chancel are some marvelous examples of poppy head benches, one of which is decorated with a carved sheaf of wheat. Here is where you will also find the stunning memorial to Samuel Roberts, who died in 1928 at the young age of eighteen years. The memorial is art deco in style and depicts the figure of St George on black marble inlaid with shimmering mother-of-pearl.

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