Home > Village History > The Church

The Church

St Mary’s church was built between 1350 and 1400 and it is constructed of flint. It is a simple church but has some very fine features. The south porch is 15th century. The nave retains its original double hammer beam roof. There are figures of angels carved into the wood which were damaged by puritan Parliamentarians of Oliver Cromwell’s day, as they tried to destroy all symbols that they Considered Roman Catholic.

The Holy Table is from the early 1600s. There are five beautiful bells which were hung in 1480, 1617, 1729, 1816 and 1817. The church formerly had box pews, but in 1928, they were replaced to give seating for 157 people on benches. Everyone had their allotted places: “Miss Cosie used to sit in the gallery” and Mrs Elliott sat with Mrs Daphne Buckle. The organ was played by Mrs Runeckles (senior).

During the incumbency of Rev. Parry other alterations were made, and in particular one regarding the new heating system. The estimate for the work sent on the 22nd July 1926, and the wording itself is to be admired:   from A. Warner & Sons, Cornhill, Ipswich.

“We beg to thank you for giving us the opportunity to quote you for this work and  now have pleasure in submitting for your consideration our scheme and estimate. The scheme is one we can thoroughly recommend and guarantee to satisfactorily warm the Church both efficiently and economically. Estimate £137.00 net.”

On the walls of the church can be seen the touching epitaphs to some of our worthy ancestors.

On the north wall towards the Altar are fine words to the Rev. James Vernon, who died in 1824, aged 30. “His surviving friends are consoled by the well granted assurance that for him to die has been gain. Honourable age not that which standeth in length of time.”

On the north wall too, near the spot where a door would have led to the adjoining schoolroom, is the inscription to our charitable friend, Mr Mouse.

The nine brave men, who died in World War One and the thirty eight courageous men of World War Two are remembered in a plaque. Outside in the churchyard can be found the graves of 125 people. The churchyard is maintained to allow the wild flowers and plants to flourish naturally, and the birds and insects to pollinate without interference. Inside the church 55 souls are remembered and nearby in the cemetery lie 124 others.

In contrast to the numbers of worshippers pre-1950, only a handful of people attended the services in the '80s. Consequently, the quotas could not be met and the church building was closed for weekly services.The Rev. Brian Baker finished with the words: '7 am sorry for the churchgoers because, although few in number, they have always been very hard-working."

Most fortunately, the church building is considered to be a fine structure and the Royal Commission for Historic Churches is filling the role of benefactor! All the expenses which had become too demanding for the churchgoers to meet are settled by the Commission. The roof, windows and walls were inspected and repaired to assure that the building would not fall victim to any penetration by the weather.