Church Wardens Ian Galbraith - 01449 760694 & Margaret Baker 01449 760207
Rev'd Philip Payne Priest -in-Charge
The Rectory, The Street, Stonham Aspal, IP14 6AQ
The magnificent tower of St Mary's dates from the fourteenth century and by then the plan of the church was much as we know it today. Parts of the building are considerably older, though, and if you look at the chancel from the village side you will see a Norman slit window, showing that this is an ancient wall. In the thirteenth century the lower part of the tower and the basic layout of the present nave and aisles were built and the chancel extended. The building material included Roman bricks and tiles as well as local flints.
In the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries the aisles were raised and the beautiful clerestory with its crenellations and black flint panels was added to the top of the nave walls. Close inspection of it shows several inscriptions, including the letter M for Mary, the mother of Jesus. The tower was also heightened at this time and now houses a fine ring of eight bells. The porch, built at an oblique to angle to the church, has distinctive flint flushwork.
There are many interesting features inside the church. Look out for
- The glorious double hammer beam roof with wallposts carved into figures. The angels date from the late nineteenth century - the originals were probably mutilated by Puritans 250 years earlier.
- The brick staircase to the left of the chancel, which would originally have led to a rood screen (removed at the Reformation).
- A Jacobean pulpit, part of an original ‘three decker' pulpit
- On the nave and aisle walls, six funerary hatchments of the Bacon and Longe families and, in the chancel, three impressive wall monuments.
- The late seventeenth century clock mechanism in the south west corner, a bier from about the same time, and the iron-bound fourteenth century parish chest.
- Ancient graffiti in the stonework of some of the pillars.
The congregation of St Mary's extends a warm welcome to visitors and details of the services are available in the Six Village News and on this website. Many other events are held in the church, making it a focal point for the village community, not only for regular churchgoers. These include flower festivals, concerts, and monthly coffee mornings.
ST MARY'S CHURCH SATURDAY MONTHLY COFFEE MORNINGS
I should like to thank everyone who has come along to the Coffee Mornings this year. Over the ten months, we raised £1050.55, which is wonderful. The church - as always - has several projects it needs to undertake, together with essential maintenance, and this whole amount has gone straight to the Fabric Fund for that purpose.
A special thank you to everyone who bakes or helps to serve every month; we could not raise this money without you. The cakes and preserves are always of the highest quality, and we are now entertaining more children, thanks to Sylvia and Sue and their creative ideas.