HISTORY ST PETERS CHURCH CRANSFORD.
St Peters is a plain medieval church built of flint rubble, a chancel and single nave with tower at the west end.
It is situated at one end of the linear village of Cransford set back from the road in a churchyard lined with oaks.
To the north of the lane. which comes from the Badingham Road lies agricultural land. whereas to the south lies Church Farm and the farm buildings. There are a few cottages to the east and west, but otherwise it is in a rural setting, and can be seen field across the fields on approaching Cransford from afar.
The churchyard is well kept with areas set aside for wild flowers, and shows traces of a moat. which formally surrounded the church and the nearby Church Farm.
Cransford is a small community of 130 parishioners and apart from St Peters has a Baptist Chapel now known as the Christian Fellowship Church, and a village hall formally the Church of England School.
It is an agricultural community with an intensive poultry unit, a haulage yard and a small estate of industrial units.
The Doomsday Book records the existence of a priest called "Godric" at Cransford and there may have been an early church at that time on the site. During the 13th century the living of Cransford was under the patronage of the Abbey at Sibton and it is likely the core of the nave of the chancel date from this period. A lancet window from this early period survives on the north wall. Most of the other windows date from the 15'" century when the western tower was added. Most of the interior dates
from the 19'" century when the squires of Cransford Hall, the Borretts restored the church drastically. Davey visited the church in 1807 and noted the nave and chancel roofs were hidden by a plaster ceiling and the chancel was divided from the nave by a heavy screen, over which was painted the royal arms. the Lords Prayer. Creed and Commandments. There was a fine Jacobean hexagonal pulpit of carved oak inscribed
"holiness to the lord" and the nave was furnished with boxed pews.
l 1869 the congregation numbered 130. The Rector at the time was the Reverend George Pooley who was Rector of Cransford and Bruisyard from 1846 to 1884.
During his incumbency the Borretts restored the building beautifying the interior and rebuilding the east end. The porch was rebuilt and a small vestry added at the east end. It is thought in the early 20th century the tower received its embattled parapet when its tiled pyramid cap was removed.
The church is approached through a solid wooden lytch gate on the lane. The walls are dressed of flint and plaster with flush work panelling at the base of the tower. A buttress bears a stone shield with the crossed keys of St Peter and to the south a shield with the crossed swords of St Paul. It is likely the church was originally dedicated to St Peter and St Paul.
In the west tower there is a small spiral staircase leading to the bell chamber. There are three bells. a treble bell cast by William Brend of Norwich 1594, a second bell from the 15'" century and the tenor bell recast in 1878 by John Warner of London.
The font was made in 1846 by Clutton of Framlingham and has a traced stem and bowl It is a memorial to two infants, Charles Borrett who died in 1832 and Louisa Alston who lived for 18 weeks and died in 1845.
Behind the font is a handsome 1 81h century chest dated 1739 bearing the name Katrina Husmans. It is believed to have come from Cransford Hall.
Behind the chest is a blocked 13th century doorway leading to the south. and possibly was access to Church Farm which was originally the rectory.
On each side of the tower arch at the base appear two small-carved faces of the 15''' century. one smiling and one bearing its teeth.
The chancel shows the 19th century restoration in red brick and the east wall appears to have been substantially rebuilt.
The restoration paid for by the Borretts was done by William Paterson who also built the new Cransford Rectory in 1840.
The chancel walls are whitened and largely unadorned and the single celled nave and chancel has no chancel arch. There is a 19th century arch braced roof. The benches have simple fleur de leys ends except for the two front benches which have handsome birds carved on their arm rests believed to be cranes standing in fords, a pun on the village name.
The pulpit and lectern and reading desk were constructed in the 1870s, the pulpit being an unusual traceried structure forming two sides of a triangle, a poor substitute for its magnificent predecessor of 1623 since lost.
The small organ dates from 1825 and is believed to have come from a house at Hawstead near Bury St Edmunds after a fire there in 1928.
The stone reredos was erected in 1876 by Katherine Borrett in memory of her husband and contains two emblems, the Lamb of God and the Pelican in Piety. On either side of the walls are the commandments and the creed and Lords prayer. The cast window is adorned with stained glass showing Christ the King made by Lavers in 1874. The northern lancet window has a glass showing St Peter. which is a memorial to the Reverend Herbert Watson who died in 191 5. There are numerous memorials on the walls to members of the Borrett family and past rectors. There is a fine marble memorial to Henry Damant a benfactor who died in 1713. His widow endowed the with the annual sum of 10/- for a sermon on Good Friday and 6/8 for distribution of bread to the poor. These payments are still received by the PCC from our Patron Robert Rous of Dennington.
On the north wall of the nave there is a good memorial with coat of arms to Sir George Clement Hamilton, JP of Cransford Hall, first Baronet who died in 1947.
St Peters Cransford presents as a plain structure stamped with heavy Victorian influence, but in good order and much loved by the people of Cransford.