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Sunday, 15 February 2015

Dalham Church

View out of main door of church
View from church
Dalham church
Dalham church in Suffolk (not too far from Newmarket) is on the hill about half a mile from the centre of this "chocolate box" village filled with thatched cottages. On a cold and wet winter day this would have been a fair walk to make for the villagers. The lord of the manor would have had a much shorter walk to make on a Sunday.
Kiln in village
The village is mainly on either side of the River Kennett. There are several nice walks in the village and its surrounding area.  It is famous for the Three Churches Walk which goes 6.4 miles through Dalham, Gazeley and Moulton.
Dedication to steeple inside church
The Ten Commandments
We made the walk up to the church on a mild February morning (about 7 degrees C, but it felt much warmer - quite spring-like) with our little grandchildren.. There were plenty of snowdrops to be seen and we saw 2 red kites (birds) overhead. These birds were reintroduced in the area some years ago, but it was good to see two soaring overhead with their distinctive forked tails. They were a complete surprise. We revisited the church in September 2015.
Avenue of trees down from church in winter
The church and village are endowed by the Afflecks. The Affleck tomb is at the church. The pub in the village is called the Affleck Arms. This serves food but only on certain days, so best to check first (see below).
Medieval wall paintings
The church dates from the 14th century but there was a much earlier Saxon church on this site mentioned in the Domesday Book. The church has medieval wall paintings and carved bench ends, most notably the one of an armless squirrel. The rood screen base dates from the 15th century.

Church with house once owned by
Bishop of Ely on LHS

The church was locked when we visited in Feb 2015 as they had had a recent spate of thefts, including lead from the roof and some silver from the church inside. Very sad. This is the first church we visited that was locked.
Graveyard
Next door was the old home of the Bishop of Ely.  Before a fire destroyed the top floor of Dalham Hall, Ely Cathedral could be seen from the top floor. I guess this was before the trees grew.   The Hall was once owned by Cecil Rhodes and occupied by his brother. Cecil Rhodes died in 1902. Between the 1400s and the 1700s it was owned by the same family -the Stutevilles.

There is an appeal to replace the church lead, details on the parish website. As of Sept 2015 I am pleased to report that this is being replaced by non-lead material. When we visited again the church was open for renovation work. Being so remote, the church was an invitation to thieves. Despicable!

Affleck Arms
When we last visited in Sept 2015, the Affleck Arms was closed so we ate at the nearby Packhorse Inn in the next village, Moulton. This recently changed hands and although externally it is nothing special, the service and lunchtime food were very good. We'd eat there again.

There is little doubt that this little church has a magnificent hilltop location, which must be one of the best in the whole country.

See http://www.britainexpress.com/attractions.htm?attraction=4897 .
See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalham .

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