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Church of St Mary, Woolpit

Description: Church of St Mary

Grade: I
Date Listed: 15 November 1954
English Heritage Building ID: 280888

OS Grid Reference: TL9744262479
OS Grid Coordinates: 597442, 262479
Latitude/Longitude: 52.2251, 0.8894

Location: Rectory Lane, Woolpit, Suffolk IP30 9QN

Locality: Woolpit
Local Authority: Mid Suffolk District Council
County: Suffolk
Country: England
Postcode: IP30 9QN

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Listing Text

TL 9762
5/135 Church of St Mary
Parish church, medieval. Nave, chancel, north and south aisles, south porch,
west tower. Mainly flint rubble with freestone dressings. Leaded roofs with
parapets and parapet gables (the nave roof has lost its parapets). In the
chancel is a C13 south doorway with nook shafts. Of c.1300 is the double
piscina and east window: this has good net tracery, inner shafts of marble and
image niches in the buttresses at the eastern corners. The north chancel
doorway of c.1300 leads into a rebuilt c19 vestry. The chancel walls were
raised for remodelled windows, perhaps in early C16. 5-bay nave arcade: the
south side is of mid C14 character. 2-light mid C14 windows in south wall, and
at the south-east corner of the aisle is a niche for the image of Our Lady of
Wool pit in the window reveal. The tall chancel arch has similar mouldings and
pier capitals, and the north arcade is of similar but later C14 character.
Early C15 north aisle windows and doorway. Circa 1439-51, the nave clerestory
was built with a fine double-hammerbeam roof in 10 bays. The eastern bay is
longer, leaving room for the fine integral vaulted canopy of honour with
restored decoration. The roof is heavily moulded and brattished, the braces all
have carved spandrels, and a canopied figure stands beneath each truss.
Although the angels attached to the cornice, wall posts and hammerbeams were
restored in C19, most of the remaining work is medieval. Aisle roofs also
renewed 1439-51: these are of similar character to the nave roof. Beneath each
main truss are more canopied figures but at the intermediate trusses the
principal rafter is carved in the form of a pair of downward-looking angels.
The chancel roof was rebuilt in C17, in 5 bays of archbraced collarbeam trusses,
but the C15 cornice remains. The rafters are from a C14/C15 canted single rafter
roof and the bosses are also from the previous roof. The south porch, added
also c.1439-51 is one of the finest in Suffolk. It has a parvise chamber above,
and the south face is entirely of freestone panels. The interior is fan-
vaulted with well-carved bosses at intersections. The inner doorway has a
crocketted hoodmould and a frieze of carved crowns, fleurons and lions heads in
a casement. The outer doorway is similar, but has two small image niches set
within the moulding on each side. The buttresses also have two tiers of stools
for images, and 5 more once stood beneath ogee-headed canopies above the
entrance. The side walls have chequered flushwork and the parapets have pierced
quatrefoiled merlons, and pinnacles at the corners. The side windows also have
ogee-headed and pinnacled hoodmoulds. In 1702 the medieval tower fell, being
repaired in 1708; this again fell in 1852 and was entirely rebuilt by R.M.
Phipson in the Decorated Style, with a tall freestone spire supported by flying.
buttresses from the parapets. Interior fittings: simple moulded late C14
octagonal font. C15 rood screen with rich painting at the base, mainly
restored: the tracery is complete, and part of the roodbeam remains with some
decoration at the upper level dated 1750. At the base is a pair of early C17
gates with balusters and strapwork at the head. Two sets of C15 poppyhead
benches in the nave, much restored but with panelled and buttressed ends and
animal figures upon the buttresses, and brattishing and quatrefoils on the
backs. In the chancel is one fine C15 stall surviving from a series and with a
matching buttressed book rest, but without its misericord. 4 further good bench
ends are attached to C19 choirstalls. Octagonal pulpit on a marble pillar, 1883
by George Gilbert Scott. Fragments of medieval glass in several chancel

Listing NGR: TL9744262479

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.