The below was written and published in 1976 by Canon D.N.E. Bringloe with the assistance of Mr. M. Bird and Miss Julie Bird. It was revised in 1977 and then in 2011 (Canon Bob Baker).
You will need to use your imagination as you walk with us through the church! We begin our guide from the south porch, which is part of what was originally the Parish Church of All Saints. On the far side of the arches which divide the church, is what was the Parish Church of Saint Margaret-in other words, there were a pair of semi-detached churches , which have now been made into one. The “Short History” of the church tells how – and perhaps why this came about.
There used to be two steps down into the church: this was to prevent the rushes, which were strewn about the floor to keep people’s fee warm hundreds of years ago, from being blown out, or carried out on people’s boots.
To the left of the south door is the Belfry door leading into the tower. This was the main entrance to All Saints Church before the present tower was built in the 15th century.
To enable the new door to be made, a window had to be sacrificed. The position of that window is outlined in the plaster above and to the left of the door: a part of the splay which was exposed after the 1941 fire shows the rich ornamentation which was probably typical of the whole church for the first few hundred years of its existence.
To the left of the belfry door , about eight feet above floor level, is an opening in the wall: before the tower was built, stone steps led via this opening into a Priest’s Chamber, which must have been supported by beams resting on the floor of the church.
Along the whole of the back of the church (except where the two doors are) are ancient stone seats (now re-surfaced). In medieval times these were the only seats provided for public use, and they were normally reserved for the aged and infirm. Hence the saying ‘the weakest go to the wall’.
Above the belfry door are the Royal Arms of King Charles II, they are probably unique in that while the design is correct, the colours are wrong. It has been suggested that it was probably painted from a drawing or engraving by a local sign-writer, who did not know that certain colours were essential.
On the south wall near the door is a good water colour of the interiour of the church as it was in 1870. At the time the communion rail was at the top of the sanctuary step, the pulpit on the steps, and the font and lectern in different places from those they now occupy. The present roof (built during the restoration of 1948/49) is very similar to the roof, as it was 100 years ago.
Close to the painting is a niche in the wall. It may have been the piscina of a Guild Chapel, of which there were several.
Nearby is an allegorical painting by Mr. Jeffery Camp, a local artist, who painted it for the church in 1962/63.
Above the Camp painting is the exposed portion of another medieval window similar to that by the south door.
Nearby is a marble tablet to the memory of Ann Cunningham, mother of the Rev. Francis Cunningham, Rector of Pakefield from 1814 – 1856, His wife Richenda was a sister of Elizabeth Fry.
The centre panel of the next window is a memorial to Elizabeth Graham Hunt, wife of the late Canon B.P.W. Stather Hunt. Mrs Hunt founded the Pakefield Mother’s Union which is still flourishing and in itself is a very worthy memorial to her work.
To the left of this window are steps which gave access to the rood loft through an opening in the wall, the size of which (together with the one leading into St. Margaret’s) suggests that normally small boys ascended the stairs.
The original rood screen was part of Robert Graunt’s work. There were at at least twelve panels in each church. The top was probably elaborate with fan vaulting but it was destroyed in 1767. The rood itself; which was destroyed in the 16th century, hung from the exact spot from which a large wooden cross is now suspended.
The present screen incorporates seventeen badly mutilated medieval panels. It is by no means a copy of the old screen; the design is simple and original and each of the twenty spandrels is different, as are the twenty four tiny heads on the finials of the buttresses. The carving in the spandrels, reading from the north to the south is as follows:=
- Cross Keys (St. Peter)
- Sword (St. Paul)
- M (for Margaret)
- Hammer and Pincers
- Spear and Sponge
- Seamless Coat and Dice
- Crown of Thorns and Nails
- Diocesan Crest (in colour)
- Lowestoft Crest (in colour)
- Sea Shells
- Sea Shells
Those numbered 7-10 are the instruments of the Passion.
Returning for a moment to the nave, under the window near the pulpit is a strangely shaped recess in the wall. It is probably part of the altar tomb, possibly dating from the 14th century.
The pulpit was made in 1949 and is a replica of one dating from 1767. The base upon which it stands together with the steps were made in 1937 as a memorial to the Rev. G.W. Sall who was Rector of Pakefield from 1901 – 1921.
The lectern is a replica of a 15th century lectern in Blythburgh Church. It was given in memory of John Munnings, J.P. for many years, headmaster of the Pakefield School, and church warden and organist of the church.
In the chancel of All Saints are two brasses; the first is noteworthy because it is one of the earliest depicting a priest in academic dress. Originally the hood was lined with the colours of his degree. Translated, the latin inscription reads as follows:-
Here lies Master Richard Folcard, formally Rector of the southern mediety of this church, who died on St. Martin’s Day, in the winter (Nov.11th) in the year of our Lord 1451. On whose soul may God have mercy.
From his mouth issues the legend:-
” will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever” (Psalm 1xxxix – Vulgate)
Nearby is a modern brass to the memory of Canon B.P.W. Stather Hunt . The following translation of the Latin inscription speaks for itself:-
In pious memory of Bernard Patteson Wathen Stather Hunt. DD., Rector of this parish for twenty five years. Canon of the Cathedral Church of Norwich. Member of the Town Council of Lowestoft, who at the beginning of his ministry was responsible for the restoration of this church, and later, after its destruction by enemy action in 1941, for its rebuilding almost from the foundations, This monument has been erected by his children as a witness to a diligent and faithful parish priest. ‘O how amiable are thy dwellings’. Psalm 84. He died in the year 1967 at the age of 83.