St Peter & St Paul Church

Clare Parish Church Headstop
Headstop, northside of nave

This is largely an early Tudor building, late perpendicular in style, airy and full of light.  Of note but only visible to the keen eye are the headposts, 10 on each side, underneath the long shafts that extend to the roof.  They seem to be of bishops and kings, merchants and their wives, probably from the 1440s.  The ones in the chancel are somewhat cruder, perhaps reworked in the 16C rebuilding.  See the complete images.  Above the headstops are angels, seemingly untouched by our unwelcome 17C visitor.

In January 1644, William Dowsing (aka Basher Dowsing), armed Sun image in St Peter & St Paul's Church, Clarewith a Parliamentary Commisssion, destroyed “all Monuments of Superstition and Idolatry” in the church: the stained glass, altar rails, images of the Virgin Mary, crosses, any image of saints.  There are a few fragments left of the glass: the sun and moon above the high altar on the east windows.  Bullet holes have been found in the roof.

On the south wall of the chancel is a Benefactions Board, listing the various charities related to the parish.  An article on this board may be found here.  It makes reference to the origin of the Common.

Eagle lectern head
Head of the eagle lectern

The brass lectern is a delight, much copied by the Victorians, but this is a 15/16C original.  Put a coin in the beak and see where it come out!

The four-gallon gotch stands in its own case – find out for yourself what it was for.

Wikipedia has an article on the church as well as one on William ‘Basher’ Dowsing.

Reference: Suffolk: West, The Buildings of England, Bettley & Pevsner, Yale 2015. ISBN 978 0 300 19655 9, pp189-190

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