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Church of St Mary the Virgin, Wortham

Description: Church of St Mary the Virgin

Grade: I
Date Listed: 29 July 1955
English Heritage Building ID: 280467

OS Grid Reference: TM0835778806
OS Grid Coordinates: 608357, 278806
Latitude/Longitude: 52.3677, 1.0590

Location: Magpie Hill, Wortham, Suffolk IP22 1SL

Locality: Wortham
Local Authority: Mid Suffolk District Council
County: Suffolk
Country: England
Postcode: IP22 1SL

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Listing Text


1/174 Church of St. Mary the
29.7.55 Virgin (formerly listed
as Church of St. Mary)

-- I

Parish church. C12 tower, possibly C11; nave, aisles and chancel mid to late
C14, clerestory added early C15, altered c.1790 with partial collapse of
tower. Restored 1856, 1891-3, chancel reroofed 1904, south porch rebuilt
1908. Flint rubble, some herringbone coursing in tower, knapped elsewhere
with some flushwork. Ashlar and red brick dressings, cement rendered aisles.
Glazed pantiled roofs. Large round tower to west, nave with aisles and south
porch, narrower and shorter chancel with a north vestry. 3-stage west tower
with a diameter of 29 feet and 62 feet high is said to be the largest Norman
round tower in England, originally possibly a watchtower for St. Edmund' s
Bury. Since 1789 it has been open and ruinous. To west a floriated cross
slab inserted below a large arched opening above which is a small round headed
opening, 2 set backs to top which has collapsed to west. To east a large
blocked opening once issuing into nave and 2 upper round headed openings. In
upper stage to south a cusped lancet, to north a round headed opening.
Perched on junction of tower and nave roof is late C18 weatherboarded bell-
cote with louvred 2-light Y traceried openings, leaded ogee cap with a weather
vane. Nave clerestorey: six 2-light Perpendicular windows to north and south,
brick voussoirs, hood moulds linked as an impost band below which are
flushwork panels with initials under coronets and various geometrical designs,
short end buttresses to coped gable end parapets to shallow pitched roof.
Unbuttressed north aisle: 2 tall 2-light C14 windows, rectilinear tracery with
curvilinear heads, similar windows on east and west returns, towards west a
double chamfered pointed arched doorway blocked with C19 squared flint,
moulded course to plain brick parapet. South aisle is similar, towards east a
C19 3-light window, restored windows on east and west returns, a 2 stage
diagonal buttress to south west. From west bay is rebuilt gabled south porch,
sundial over outer pointed arch, 2 stage diagonal buttresses to returns with
2-light windows, inner double hollow moulded pointed arch. Chancel: to south
a central C14 low side door, heavily moulded pointed arch with shafted jambs,
above an empty niche with a cusped ogee head, flanking 2 stage buttresses and
tall 2-light window with hexagonal rectilinear traceried heads, moulded plinth
and cornice to rebuilt embattled parapet, south east 2 stage diagonal
buttress. To east panelled moulded plinth and a string course below a large
5-light window, complex curvilinear tracery, coped gable parapet with ridge
cross to steeply pitched roof. To north two 2-light windows, one as on
chancel to south, the other as on aisles; to north east is tall vestry with
twin gables, plaintiled roof, 2 stage diagonal buttresses, a 2-light window
and a stack to east. Interior: blocked tower arch, C14 double chamfered
chancel arch, semi-octagonal responds with moulded caps and bases, outer
chamfers have cusped stops. 3 bay nave arcades, double chamfered arches,
octagonal piers with moulded caps and bases. 6 bay nave roof: alternating
moulded arched braces and single hammerbeams, collars with short king posts,
moulded purlins and ridge piece, traceried spandrels in arched braces to
hammerbeams, brattished cornice along wall plates, restored mask corbels,
rebuilt lean-to aisle roofs. 5 bay chancel roof of 1904 with arched braces,
posts on mask corbels with canopied niches. In chancel: windows towards west
have C14 shafted jambs to moulded rear arches, simpler mouldings to east
except large east window which also has shafted jambs and an outer moulding,
an elaborate stone reredos of 1856 with richly carved vinescroll ornament,
panels with biblical texts in Gothic surrounds, to south a piscina with a
cusped and crocketed ogee head. In north and south aisles simpler piscinae,
chamfered and cusped, rear arches in aisles have simply moulded heads. C14
octagonal font, moulded cap and base to stem, masks to bowl with cusped and
crocketed gabled faces, brattished head. In south aisle Royal Arms of Charles
I, carved oak oval panel, also Betts family hatchments. C19 seating copies
original with poppyhead bench ends with carved figures and animals. Some C18
barley sugar balusters used in C19 communion rails, fragments of C15 screen
used in altar table. Chancel floor 3 C18 slabs with arms to members of Betts
family, south aisle 2 medieval florated cross slabs. Some C15 glass fragments
in east window.

Listing NGR: TM0835778806

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.