Dovecote, Stoke College 1485

Stoke-by-Clare dovecote
Courtesy Stiffleaf, ipernity.com © 2007-2016

The brick dovecote at Stoke by Clare is among the finest medieval examples in the country and survives exceptionally complete.  It was originally one of a pair flanking the entrance to Stoke College, perhaps built as pavilions with wide arches open towards the park.  The decorative brickwork can be dated to 1485–1493; the portcullis is a symbol of King Henry VII.  At the first floor the walls are thickened to provide thirteen layers of nesting boxes for pigeons: young squabs were a roasted delicacy.

The College is opening the Dovecote up to the public and welcomes visitors on the following days in summer 2017 from 10 – 2: Wednesday, 19th July 2017; Wednesday, 26th July 2017; Wednesday, 2nd August 2017.

It is listed as one of “Suffolk’s hundred best buildings”, Tim Buxbaum, IMEM 2014.

Location: Stoke College, Stoke-by-Clare CO10 8JE
Links: Historic England listed II*
Book: Suffolk: West, The Buildings of England, Bettley & Pevsner, Yale 2015. ISBN 978 0 300 19655 9, pp495

Walks in & around Clare

Clare Town Council has a website devoted to this subject: clarewalks.co.uk.  Six circular walks have been freshly written up, with maps & directions, photos and points of interest.  Try them out as well as the local walking events and other routes that are included.

‘Westminster Cathedral of Suffolk’

Barnardiston Monument
Monument to Nathaniel Barnardiston and wife

This is Kedington‘s St Peter & St Pauls’s Church, housing more than 20 monuments to the Barnardiston family, over 27 generations, Lords of the Manor from the 13C to 1745: a real hotch-potch of history jumbled together into an exceptionally pleasing whole under a skylighted nave, with a one-handed octagonal clock.

A musician’s gallery, family box pews, one with a fireplace, plus a triple decker Jacobean pulpit with a wig stand add to the pleasures of this amazing church: ‘a delightful diversity’*.

Just an anecdote?

Sir Samuel Barnardiston – later to be the MP for Suffolk – cropped his hair, prompting King Charles I’s Queen Henrietta Maria to call out: ‘See what a handsome young round head is there’ – just one of the theories of how the Roundheads, later led by Oliver Cromwell, got their name.

Location: Mill Road, Kedington CB9 7NN
Links: Angels & PinnaclesHistoric England listed I, Suffolk Churches
Book: Suffolk: West, The Buildings of England, Bettley & Pevsner, Yale 2015. ISBN 978 0 300 19655 9, pp337-339*

Glorious carvings

Denston bench end
Animal from the bestiary

These are in the Church of St Nicholas in Denston: a cornice carved with lions, hounds, hares and harts as well as a manticore,  plus choir stalls, miserichords – one carved with a crane holding a stone, bench ends with animals copied from a medieval bestiary, traceried screens, suspended armour, tomb chest for two shrouded corpses, brasses…….

Location: The Green, Denston CB8 8PP
Links: Historic England listed I, Suffolk Churches
Book: Suffolk: West, The Buildings of England, Bettley & Pevsner, Yale 2015. ISBN 978 0 300 19655 9, pp214-215


Take a walk!

Wooden head in No 1 Deli, Clare
Photo: Steve Kimminau

Just stroll around the centre of Clare to see a wealth of architectural gems: late medieval, Georgian, Victorian.  See the Town Council’s page on Architecture for background material.  Return to our attractions for a key selection of what to visit: the Priory, the Parish Church, Maltings Lane, the Common, the Castle and the Ancient House.

Drop into the No 1 Deli in the High Street, just around the corner from Maltings Lane – on display is this medieval wooden image, just above the teapot shelf in the serving area.  It may well have been a headstop from the castle or the priory – see the stone headstops in the Parish Church, decorative elements to replace a lintel or the end of a beam or support; though No 1 Deli is of 15/16C origin, the head has no architectural function in its present position.



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