With the grey skies of January I find myself once again exploring inside some of the ancient churches in Suffolk. These historic buildings have been the centre of their respective communities for hundreds of years and are full of stories and treasures. Yet judging by the signatures in the visitor books these wonderful, rich cultural and historic storehouses are largely overlooked.
In Blaxhall church there is a remarkable stained glass window by Margaret Rope created as a family memorial to the Rope family in 1912. I haven’t done the whole window justice in my photos ( will return) but here is a detail of one part of it. Saint Peter holds the key. The other figure is Saint Michael modelled on Michael Rope who subsequently became an engineer with the Air Ministry, and was killed in the R101 airship disaster in 1931.
Margaret Agnes Rope (1882-1953 ) and her cousin Margaret Edith Aldrich Rope ( 1891-1988) are two of the best stained-glass artists of the twentieth century. M. E. A Rope was known as Tor ( for tortoise). Here is her monogram from Barnby church.
Margaret Agnes Rope ( Marga) only ever ‘signed’ one of her works – the family memorial one at Blaxhall.
Both Rope cousins, but particularly Tor, who was born in Leiston, have Suffolk connections so discovering their work has given me an interesting local project for the start of 2019.
Images of their stained glass and other recent photos of several Suffolk churches are in a new gallery on my home page.