St Margaret, Stratton Strawless
The church contains two very grand memorials to the Marsham family, complete with life-size effigies. Whilst the figures themselves are impressive, it is the eerily accurate carvings of skulls and bones at the base of Thomas Marsham’s memorial that I found most captivating. The level of detail is uncanny and their macabre message undeniable.
In the 1830s much of the church’s interior was remodelled in the Gothic style. During these works, the life-sized effigy of a woman was discovered walled up in the tower. Referred to as the Black Abbess, the effigy is believed to date from the 13th century and to depict a widow of the crusades holding a heart.
There is also some very striking tile work that is hidden by the alter curtain but well worth taking a sneaky peek at.