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Martham Church ~  The Nave and its Angels

THE NAVE is a very fine example of perpendicular architecture with a splendid clerestory.  It is filled with Victorian pews that replaced the box pews and three-decker pulpit of earlier centuries.  A few pews in the north and south aisles have a number of 15th century poppyhead bench ends incorporated into them.  Among them is a Green Man, a puritanical man with a tall hat (shown left), a pair of fishes and other fascinating figures.  One pair of benches in the Prayer Corner of St Blide at the east end of the South aisle have poppyheads with carved bells and the inscription A.M. for Ave Maria, a traditional monogram of the Virgin Mary to whom the church is dedicated.  

 

On the column nearest to the south aisle east window you will find a graffiti image of a ship in full sail skilfully scratched into the stonework about three feet from the floor.

 

To the north side of the chancel screen is a small doorway which once led to the medieval rood loft above the screen which spanned the former chancel arch.

 

The nave has a very fine hammerbeam roof with eleven pairs of angels. It was fully restored during the Victorian restoration of 1855-61.  Close inspection of the angels reveal that some carry instruments of the Passion of Christ, while others are holding musical instruments. On the north side beginning at the tower arch you will see:

 

An angel with a shield showing the cock that crowed after Peter had three times denied that he knew Jesus.

 

An angel holding a small instrument of pipes.

 

An angel playing a stringed instrument.

 

An angel with a shield showing the seamless robe worn by Jesus at the crucifixion.  (After Jesus’ body was taken down from the cross the Roman soldiers cast lots to decide who should have it.)

 

An angel holding a scroll or a small instrument of pipes?

 

An angel with a flute.

 

An angel holding the pincers that would have been used to remove the nails from the cross when Jesus’ body was taken down.

 

An angel with a scroll.

 

An angel carrying the ladder used when Jesus’ body was taken down from the cross.

 

An angel holding a small organ.

 

An angel carrying a cross.

 

On the south side beginning at the chancel arch you will see:

 

An angel holding a crown of thorns.

 

An angel holding a ram’s horn.

 

An angel holding the hammer and nails used to fix Jesus’ body to the cross.

 

An angel holding an early violin or rebec.

 

An angel with a spear.

 

An angel holding a crown of thorns.

 

An angel with a harp.

 

An angel with a scroll.

 

An angel with the rope used for the flogging of Jesus.

 

An angel holding a shield showing the five wounds of Jesus on the

cross.

 

An angel with hands held in prayer.

 

The corbels supporting the roof beams have beautifully carved heads on them.

our angel roof closer view of angels looking up to the angels more angels the ringing gallery