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Church of St Mary, Lakenheath

Description: Church of St Mary

Grade: I
Date Listed: 7 May 1954
English Heritage Building ID: 275834

OS Grid Reference: TL7145382744
OS Grid Coordinates: 571453, 282744
Latitude/Longitude: 52.4158, 0.5196

Location: High Street, Lakenheath, Suffolk IP27 9DS

Locality: Lakenheath
Local Authority: Forest Heath District Council
County: Suffolk
Country: England
Postcode: IP27 9DS

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Listing Text


11/25 Church of St. Mary

- I

Church. Mediaeval with restorations of 1892 and 1904. Nave, chancel, north
and south aisles, north and south porches, west tower and west schoolroom.
Walling of rubble with freestone dressings: C12 work in Carrstone rubble
(reused in later alterations, which also employ rubble of limestone, flint and
clunch). C18 repairs in gault brick; the west, C18 extension in flint rubble
with random headers and quoins of pink brick. Roofs mainly flat, leaded with
parapets and parapet gables; chancel roof slated. Part of the C12 chancel
survives; chancel arch with round-arched moulded head on 3 orders of engaged
columns with scalloped capitals. A small section of wall arcading on the
north wall was originally continued around the apsidal east end. Part of a
blocked C12 lancet is visible in north wall. The C14 south nave arcade stands
on the stumps of circular columns, apparently of C12, with octagonal bases,
suggesting a former C12 south aisle. The chancel was extended mid C13; in
north wall a lancet and a broad blocked arch into a chapel (now demolished); a
C13 doorway was moved into the arch later. Tower added mid C13; blocked
lancets in north and in south walls, pointed tower arch and west doorway which
has niche above. A 3-light south chancel window was added c.1300. North
aisle was added mid C14 in 2 stages, with 2- and 3-light net traceried windows
and moulded north doorway and a circular east window over the side-altar.
The south arcade was rebuilt C14; the octagonal piers have shallow blank
arches carved just below the capitals. In later C14, the tower was raised
with 2-light belfry windows, crenellated parapets and moulded cornice with
carved mask gargoyles. On each corner of the tower stand limestone figures.
South and north porches added late C14; the south has mask-carved kneelers to
the parapet gables, both have the bases of gable-crosses. The south doorway
is of C14, but the aisle walling was almost rebuilt C15, with 3-light square-
headed windows; a similar window with segmental head was inserted in east wall
of chancel. Nave roof raised C15; 5 bays of arch-braced tie-beams with wall-
pieces on limestone corbels, with queen posts, principal rafters and purlins.
Secondary trusses have angel-carved hammer-beams. Angels also embellish tie-
beams and cornices, and spandrils are filled with tracery. 2-light clerestory
windows and another of 3 lights (blocked) over chancel arch. To the west wall
of tower was added a schoolroom in C18; pointed chamfered arched doorway with
C18 panelled pair of doors and fanlight above. In the north and south walls
are reused C15 single-light windows and in west wall a 4-light traceried
window; these are believed to be from the ruinous church of St. Peter,
Eriswell. The chancel roof was rebuilt 1892. In the north aisle is a fine
C13 font, octagonal, the bowl carved with crocketed arcading, the stem having
detached shafts at each corner. Fine late C15 pews with poppyhead ends,
buttresses with carved animal and human figures, and pierced backs; a set of 8
in south aisle, 21 further examples, some altered, in nave; one has carved C17
panelling. 4 C15 benchends have been reused in C19 choirstalls. Fine C15
octagonal pulpit with buttresses at corners and traceried panels. In the
south aisle is a restored family pew of c.1600. Traces of wall painting in
several areas: on the north nave arcade extensive areas including a C14 figure
of St. Edmund and others, overpainted with trailing foliage and abstract
patterns. Beside the chancel arch is a figure of Christ, and on the south
arcade a blackletter inscription of c.1600. In the south aisle is a Purbeck
altar tomb to Simeon Steward, d.1568; Gothic tracery and arched canopy on
engaged shafts; his coat of arms is carved in the recess. Inset in the south
wall nearby is an oblong marble plaque with coat of arms and inscription to
Joan, widow of Simeon Steward, d.1583. In the south aisle is a painted coat
of arms of Charles II, 1678. In the nave and south aisle floors are a number
of limestone and marble slabs, mainly unmarked, some probably mediaeval. For
detailed description of church, see "Suffolk Churches", H. Munroe Cantley.

Listing NGR: TL7145382744

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Source: English Heritage

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.