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Church of St Mary, Gislingham

Description: Church of St Mary

Grade: I
Date Listed: 29 July 1955
English Heritage Building ID: 279516

OS Grid Reference: TM0763471794
OS Grid Coordinates: 607634, 271794
Latitude/Longitude: 52.3050, 1.0441

Location: Thornham Road, Gislingham, Suffolk IP23 8HP

Locality: Gislingham
Local Authority: Mid Suffolk District Council
County: Suffolk
Country: England
Postcode: IP23 8HP

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Listing Text

TM 0771
6/60 Church of St. Mary

Parish church. C14 chancel, late C15 nave and north porch. Tower collapsed
1598, rebuilt 1638-40 by E. Petto, bricklayer. Refurnished 1802 and late C19.
Flint rubble with some red brick and ashlar dressings, nave rendered. English
bond red brick tower with reused ashlar dressings. Tiled chancel roof.
Grey/green slate roof to nave. A long and wide 5 bay nave, shorter and
narrower chancel, north porch, west tower. Unbuttressed chancel with a good
east window, 4 tall lights with cusped reticulated tracery in a segmental
pointed arched head, wave moulded surround; quoining, moulded kneelers to
coped gable end parapet with ridge cross. Chancel to south has a low side
door, chamfered pointed arch with hood mould, flanking restored 3-light
windows, ogee headed lights with recilinear tracery, 4 centred arched bricked
heads, 2 similar windows to north. Slightly taller nave projects further to
south, to east a shallow gable parapet with carved angels at ends. Nave to
north is divided by 5 two-stage buttresses with moulded plinths, 3 large 3-
light Perpendicular windows, trefoil headed ogee lights, taller to centre,
brattishing to rectilinear traceried segmental arched heads, hoodmoulds with
mask stops; to centre over north porch a smaller 2-light Perpendicular window.
Nave to south has 4 identical large windows and 5 similar buttresses, an
entrance to centre with a double moulded pointed arch, hoodmould. Nave to
west has quoining and double plinth from earlier tower. North porch: outer
pointed arch, semi-octagonal responds have moulded caps with fleurons,
mouldings across shafts, inner chamfer, outer order with Tudor flowers and
little shields with an angel at apex holding arms of donor, R. Chapman and
wife; inner face of arch also has shield and flower ornament. Outer spandrels
have 2 shields of arms, that of St. Edmund to west, hoodmoulds on 2 crowned
lion stops, above arch a panel with R. Chapman's dedicatory inscription.
Embattled parapet has pointed arched knapped flint panels, small central gable
with a finial over a vaulted canopied ogee niche, outer pinnacles with
flushwork. Plinth to 3 stage diagonal buttresses with flushwork panels on
outer faces, plain returns with embattled parapets. Porch roof renewed by
church wardens, inscribed 'WS 1661 TO', notched ovolo moulded principals and
purlins. Inner pointed entrance arch, double order with hoodmould, C17 double
doors with strap hinges. West tower has a stone to north in second stage,
'John Darbie Gave One Hundred Pounds Unto this Worke, 1639 MD'. 4 stages
separated by string courses, moulded plinth. To west a pointed double
chamfered entrance arch, boarded door, above between 2 lower stages is a 3-
light window, intersecting tracery, a segmental pointed arch with alternating
gauged brick and stone voussoirs. Belfry has chamfered round headed louvred
openings with Y tracery. At angles are semi-octagonal buttresses tapering
gradually with 3 steps to each of middle stages and 2 to belfry, embattled
parapet with corner and intermediate pinnacles. To north a round headed light
in third stage; to south a semi-octagonal stair turret, stone capped under a
relieving arch, a painted sundial dated 1910, canted angle to south where
tower meets nave. Interior: tall pointed chancel arch is off centre to
chancel with chamfers flanking a hollow moulding all dying into broadly
chamfered responds. Tall pointed tower arch has 5 moulded orders, 2 inner
orders stopped on semi-octagonal responds with moulded caps. Fine 10 bay
double hammerbeam roof to nave; stone mask corbels support moulded posts,
arched braces to brattished hammerbeams from which all terminal angels except
to east have been removed, arched braces to brattished collars, 1 truss
retains tracery above collar, roll and hollow moulded double purlins and ridge
piece, ashlaring to coved and moulded cornice with embattled and Tudor flower
brattishing; from 2 collars and 1 hammerbeam towards east hang early timber
pulley blocks. 4 bay restored chancel roof, arch braced brattished collars,
similarly moulded purlins and ridge piece, ashlaring to similar cornice with
embattled brattishing, posts on walls have grotesque figure terminals. In
tower a pointed arched door to stair turret. Hollow moulded heads to nave
window rear arches. Nave south wall pointed arched tomb recess with a
hoodmould. To north of chancel arch a squint opening. Chancel south wall
sedilia with cusped heads in window embrasure. To centre of nave is late C15
octagonal font given by R. Chapman, double stepped base with inscription, stem
has 4 seated lions and crocketed pinnacles, fleurons and angels up to bowl
with 4 Evangelist symbols and 4 angels bearing shields of arms. Towards west
end of nave are early benches, partially restored, C15 poppy headed bench
ends, 1 damaged figure. Towards east end of nave are fielded panelled and
numbered box pews of 1802 incorporating fragments of earlier benches, in
centre to north is triple decker pulpit, ball finialed newel posts and
panelled frontal to clerk's desk, semi-octagonal pulpit has fielded panels,
scrolled brackets to reading board, panelled backboard and octagonal tester
with ornamental frieze, dentilled and guilloche bands to cornice, iron hour
glass holder. Nave to west has a late C19 boarded gallery. Chancel has late
C19 chair stalls, communion rails, Gothic reredos with inscribed panels. On
nave walls are traces of early painted inscriptions. Royal Arms of George III
in tower arch. Chancel north wall has gedicular mural memorial to A.
Bedingfield, d.1652, varied marbles, a kneeling figure with prayer book, below
a fielded panel inscribed in Latin and Greek, aedicule has consoles below
Corinthian columns, dosserets to a broken segmental pediment, behind a round
arch, oval cartouche above. Chancel south wall inscribed tablet to J. Darbye,
d.1639, marble obelisk above; to his wife Mary, d.1646, a convex marble oval
with draped sides . Numerous C17 and C18 floor slabs in chancel. In tower
are painted names of bellringers with ornamental surrounds, also a panel dated
1822 commemorating a ringing. Nave windows retain fragments of C15 glass;
towards east on north side, Coronation of the Virgin, St. Catherine and a
shield of arms. At time of inspection certain fittings including a C17 font
cover, a C17 communion table and a C15 parish chest were temporarily removed
from the church. (Suffolk Archaeology, vol XXXIV, p.154: Parish Church Guide,

Listing NGR: TM0763471794

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.