Churches of Suffolk

Suffolk Churches are wonderful churches to visit and I am trying to visit some each time we visit the county.

St Lawrence Church, South Cove, Suffolk

We have been away for a few days, down on the south coast and London, hence the lack of posts, not enough time.  But back to normal, or as normal as it gets, to carry on with a few more churches from the archives.  We visited St Lawrence in 2016, a wonderful thatched, basically Norman Church, although the Victorians did their best to change the interior in 1877, but not quite succeeding.  The church origins go back to the late Saxon period (circa 1000AD) but the nave, with original north and south doorways, remain, giving the overall feel of a Norman Church.  The chancel was added in 1240 and the splendid church tower in the 14t century.  

The interior is long and narrow, with a beautiful Medieval roof.  Luckily on the day of our visit the sun shone and the light filled the church with a rose tint, I think the light bounced of the roof and the red tiled floor, it looked beautiful.

There are 24 15th century benches carved with tracery and poppyheads but the octagonal font of the same date, has been defaced and is in a sorry state compared to some of the others that I have seen locally.

The pulpit is 17th century and has been reduced from a triple decker.

As I made my way up the chancel, I suddenly noticed a painting on the wall.  Looking closer I recognised  St Michael painted on two boards, acting as a door to the Rood stairs.  It is possible that the door, if it is the correct door to the stairs, is 15th century, and it is remarkable that it had survived.  I should think it was plastered and painted over, so the Victoria restoration was not all bad, as they would have found it when uncovering the door to the Rood stairs…..( a screen that would have divided the Chancel from the Nave)


The porch was rebuilt in 1880


St Mary Church, Henstead, Suffolk

One that got a away in 2016, St Mary in Henstead, Suffolk.  Unfortunately on the day that we passed this beautiful Norman Church, we just didn’t have the time to visit.  So I took a photo and also of the village sign, so I know where to come back to.  It did look so intriguing sitting along among the trees and there it will sit, until I can return and explore…..thats if its open. 

Angel Heads

I came across this group of angel headstones while sorting through church photos and thought how good they looked grouped together.  I’m not sure if they are the same family, it is possible they are, as the gravestones seem the same.  I found them in St Andrew’s Churchyard in Great Dunham, Suffolk, a church I have yet to post, but I’m working on it.

All Saints Church, Stradbroke, Suffolk

The beautiful church of All Saints, sits grandly in the centre of Stradbroke in Suffolk.  Stradbroke had been a thriving small town once, but now, more a gentle larger village.  We had strayed from Norfolk into Suffolk, looking for a nice pub to have Sunday dinner and found one in this delightful village.  Even more delightful, as it over looked the church.  The meal was very good, but all the time I was thinking about the church, would it be open, was it as nice inside as out……. After a little rest, as not to appear to rude to rush out to explore, my husband said ‘do you not want to look at the church’ I was up and gone before he had finish speaking.  

The church door was open and a notice stated that it was open everyday, so I stepped into a nice church, but a very Victorian interior.  The church had a major restoration of the 1870s, and not much survives of the medieval church, except the font, which was considerably recut but still retains its dedicatory inscription.  

A little history…..There has been a church at Stradbroke for at least 900 years. The Doomsday Survey of 1086 records the existence of two churches. Nothing survived from the Saxon or Norman church. The oldest work is from the 14th century and most of the fabric dates from the 15th century – the period when so many grand Suffolk churches took their present shape, and when the Perpendicular style of architecture was at its height.

Richard Phipson, the architect of the 1870s restoration, believed the chancel was 14th century, and that the rest of the church was added to this in the 15th century, replacing a Norman or 13th century structure.

The beautiful carved 15th century font is in typical East Anglian style, with an octagonal bowl carved with figures of angels holding shields. It is the stem of the font that really deserves attention. It is carved with alternating figures of lions and woodwoses, the suffolk wild man of the woods. Each woodwose is in a different pose. some hold clubs, as is traditional, but one is shown clubless, with his hands beginning to part his long beard.  

I came across another treasure, well to me they were, another medieval survival, a pair of rood screen panels in the chancel, depicting two Old Testament Kings.  They may not be original to the church, but they are medieval survivors, although somewhat restored, but it was wonderful to see them and ponder on their past.  All too soon, I heard my name being called……time to go.

St John The Divine, Elmswell, Suffolk


When travelling on the A14 in Suffolk, you can not miss the wonderful church of St John The Divine, sat up on the hill at Elmswell.  We had passed by so many times and forever saying ….we must go and look….and back in the Autumn of 2013 we did.  This church looks really interesting with its lovely patterned porch, I was looking forward to exploring, but I should have known, as its really quite isolated that it would be locked. The pattern on the porch was worth the break in our journey, as was the wander around the semi wild churchyard.


The church is medieval, but apparently it has a 19th century interior, due to having been nearly derelict by the early 19th century.  What would have been wonderful medieval tops of the pew ends, have apprentley been sawn off… that would have upset me.  The church seems to have a thriving congregation, and I am sure there was a key holder, but as we were short on time……. maybe next time we are passing.