This church is perhaps the most famous Suffolk parish church, and deservedly so. It is an exquisite 15th century building in at the peak of the perpendicular style and has much to see. It is one of the churches built from the wealth of the wool trade. The pictures here are an attempt to do it justice, but are no substitute for seeing it for yourself.
The many windows, including a remarkable collection containing medieval glass, are shown on a separate page, here.
The Lady Chapel is a self contained building at the east end, and has a separate page, here. The church itself is one of England's longest churches, being two hundred and fifty feet end to end.
The south porch, in a truncated form, may survive from an earlier building.
The north aisle windows contain a fabulous collection of medieval stained glass. A popular belief is that the image below, of Elizabeth Talbot, Duches of Norfolk, provided the artist John Tenniel with the model for the Dutchess in Alice in Wonderland. Click on the picture to see the rest of the fabulous windows - I photographed all of them.
Here are the views of the nave, looking east and west. The clerestory now contains clear glass, which floods the building with light.
One of the chief treasures of this church is an alabaster bas relief of the Adoration of the Magi. It dates from 1350 (about 130 years older than the present church) and was found underneath the chancel floor in the 18th century. It may be part of an alabaster altar destroyed in the Reformation and recorded as having been bought by one of the Clopton family. If this is the case it was buried in the hope that one day it would be rediscovered. I particularly like the (rather small!) cows looking out from under the bed and the midwife standing behind Mary's halo.
The sanctuary. The reredos is Victorian and was erected in 1877.
Here are the pulpit and pipe organ (north aisle). I think the pulpit completely out of keeping with the building. The one in the 17th century engraving of the building by Neale in the guidebook (complete with sounding board) looked much more the part!
The church contains some fine brasses - these are of the Martin family (Richard, d.1624) and Roger (d.1615).
The carved Royal coat of arms.
Here is the font with its large canopy, rather obscured by the arrangements of grasses.
Here is a view of the north side of the church (seldom seen photographed as the view from the south is so much more picturesque). The Lady Chapel is the building on the extreme left.
Here is a final view of this lovely building from the road. The tower was built in 1903 to celebrate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee. It seems a little at odds with the rest of the building, however I am sure it is a huge improvement on its predecessor (which it was built around), which was constructed of red brick in 1725. That tower had replaced the original which was destroyed by lightening around 1710.
The church, being a tourist attraction, is almost always open.
The church has its own website here.
More pictures of the church can be found here.
Visitors to this album since June 2003
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