Churches of Suffolk

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

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.

St Mary’s Church, Wetherden, Suffolk


This was a very special day 22nd November 2013, we were in Suffolk when I took these photos, it was the day we went to pick up Nancy our little Norfolk Terrier.  Nancy was very special, because we had lost two young German Shepherd dogs very close to each other and I could not bear the thought of losing any more large dogs.  We still had Nipper our Yorkie, but he was missing Rocky, so I said we could have a small dog……..small, Nancy has turned out to be a giant at heart, she is the most loveable dog that we have ever had.  Rocky died about a year ago, but I know he would have loved her to bits as well as chewed her all around the edges……but back to the church.

We were too early to pick Nancy up, so we headed to the nearest church, St Mary’s at Wetherden, Suffolk. ¬†This apparently is a really interesting church, built in the middle of the 15th century, with a tower built a century earlier‚Ķ..but not when its all locked up. ¬†I was hoping, that as it was a Sunday morning, someone might have been there, but no such luck ¬†So I just took some photos and the sky really was that blue. ¬†I’m not sure if we will visit again, as Wetherden is in deepest Suffolk, but it does have roof angels and wonderful medieval pew ends, so I think we will.

November 2013

Beautiful Angel Roof, Bury St Edmunds Cathedral, Suffolk

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We visited Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk today, and had a chance to explore the ruins of the Abbey, plus the beautiful Cathedral.  The roof in the Cathedral was a lovely surprise……. a fantastic angel roof.

November 2014

Up High in Woolpit Church, Suffolk


There is no end to the wonders of St Mary’s Church in Woolpit, Suffolk. ¬†In this post we are exploring the spectacular wooden double hammer beam roof which was constructed in the fourteenth century. ¬†The roof suffered during both the Reformation and the Civil War.


There are about 128 angels on the hammer beams above and some have shields with letters on them.  It was thought that there was a complete restoration of the roof and angels in 1862, but there is an argument that the restoration was nowhere near as complete as has been made out, and many features are original.

William Dowsing the Puritan inspector for the area did visit Woolpit carrying out a lot of distructive work, but did not mention the angels.  His delight in the destruction of angels roofs matched only that of dustuction of stained glass, so it is possible the roof had been destroyed a hundred years earlier.

 But even if only a small portion of the angels are original, it is still a stunning sight and this is how it could have looked originally.  I knew that Woolpit Church had an angel roof, but did not realize that it was quite this beautiful.




Exterior of the Medieval Church of Woolpit, Suffolk


Not the nicest of weather to have to take church photos, but in our climate if its not raining‚Ķ‚Ķits a good day. ¬†We have to make the best of what we have, we visited this beautiful church back in the summer of 2013, but although it was really warm, it was very overcast. ¬†We were visiting one of the well known churches of Suffolk, St Mary’s Church in Woolpit. ¬†I have already posted about the rood screen and some churchy bits, but this post is about the exterior which in its way, is just as beautiful as the interior.


The tower which is built of flint and Barnack stone (from near Peterborough) has fallen at least three times.  It was first built in 1513, in 1602 the church was severely damaged by a thunderstorm and the tower was rebuilt with a pinnacle of 66 feet.  This spire was blown down in the great hurricane of 1703 and this time rebuilt with a pinnacle of 42 feet high.  In July 1852, the spire was struck by lighting once again, this time is was rebuilt in the 14th century style with Norman mouldings from the old tower, the reconstruction cost £1,750.


The porch in the middle ages was used for certain rites, such as the Churching of Women and weddings.  It was also used as a place to pay legacies and rents.  Woolpits porch with its fine vaulted ceiling is considered a fine example of medieval architecture.  In 1430 5 marks (£1.67) was left by John Brumpton for the fabric of the porch, followed by various other persons bequeathing money for the new porch.  In 1474 the finishing touches were being added when Robert Lytton left £20.00 for five images to be placed in the porch.  These statues were probably destroyed in the 16th/17th century, but the niches can still be seen .


It is assumed that the present church stands on the site of a smaller, earlier church built before the Norman Conquest. A more substantial church is thought to have been built in 1087, the priest’s door into the chancel on the south side is all that remains of the Norman edifice. ¬†The chancel and south aisle are 14th century, with the north aisle being 15th century.

A wonderful church to explore from the outside and there is still the medieval wonders of the interior to come.