St Laurence, Ridgewell, Essex (2/2)

St Laurence church has several compass drawn circle designs, including a very clear daisy wheel and an unusually long sequence of linked compass drawn circles. There is a large incomplete daisy wheel by the west door in the tower, it is obscured behind an old noticeboard.

There are several Marian marks and pentagrams, the latter being quite faintly inscribed.

There are several example of the ladder motif on display, including a very long one below the medieval poem featured in the previous post.

Most churches have dot patterns somewhere on their columns, St Laurence has two sets of very extensive dot patterns.

There are also several examples of cross-hatching of regular and irregular types.

The rood screen stairs have an outline of a small hand. It is too small to be a man’s hand and may be that of a woman or an adolescent. There is also a clear phallus on one of the piers of the tower arch.  There are also a couple of bow and arrow or crossbow shapes.

The medieval poem is not the only example of script in the church.

Many people have written their names on the walls and columns of St Laurence’s. Two families seem to be more represented than most. The Nevil family (written Neuil) in the 17th century and the Steeds in the 19th & early 20th centuries.

Another name caught my eye as I was putting this post together. Howard Cole, age 12, 1904. I wondered if this was a bit of cheeky graffiti or a memorial to a lost child, so I did a little digging. It turns out that this is not Howard Cole’s memorial. Howard Victor Cole has two other memorials. His name is on the War Memorial in Ridgewell village and his grave is at Laventie Military Cemetery just west of Lilles. Private Howard Cole, of the Royal Berkshire Regiment, was killed with 28 of his comrades on 19th July 1916 at the 2nd Battle of Fromelles, he was 22.

Considering that the RAF Ridgewell was so close to the village it is not surprising that some of its occupants left their marks on the church. Corporal Duke Wellington has a double presence, once on his own and once as a record of a memorable meeting in 1945.

There are a large number of other memorials, names and initials. The dates range from 17th to the 20th century.

Report by Anthea Hawdon.

Church Lane
The church is usually open during daylight hours.

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