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Church of St Mary, Lidgate

Description: Church of St Mary

Grade: II*
Date Listed: 19 December 1961
English Heritage Building ID: 283250

OS Grid Reference: TL7206058159
OS Grid Coordinates: 572060, 258159
Latitude/Longitude: 52.1948, 0.5160

Location: B1063, Lidgate, Suffolk CB8 9PP

Locality: Lidgate
Local Authority: St Edmundsbury Borough Council
County: Suffolk
Country: England
Postcode: CB8 9PP

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There is also a scheduled monument, Lidgate Castle, at the same location as this building or very close to it. This may be related in some way or possibly a different name for the same structure.

Explore more of the area around Lidgate, Suffolk at Explore Britain.

Listing Text


832/25/328 LIDGATE

C13-C15, with C19 and 1930's phases.

Mainly flint rubble with stone dressings, partly rendered. S porch of brick and some brick at the E end of the N aisle. Red tiled roofs to nave, chancel and S porch, lead roofs to the aisles. The interior is plastered and painted.

Nave with N and S aisles, W tower and S porch. Chancel.

A long, low church with a proportionately relatively tall tower. The late C13 or C14, 3-stage W tower has diagonal buttresses and a plain parapet. There is a 2 light Decorated W window, simpler 2-light C14 windows in the bell stage and small openings in the middle stage.

There is no clerestory. Both N and S aisles have three 2-light Decorated windows and offset buttresses. There are no W windows in the aisles, nor an E window in the N aisle, but the S aisle has a 3-light C15 E window. The N door has two continuous chamfers and a hood mould. The post-medieval S porch is of brick, rendered on the inside, and has unglazed N and S openings. The S door is square-headed with continuous mouldings, and is set within a pointed arch with a rendered tympanum, also with continuous mouldings. It may be C12 in origin with mouldings of the C15 or later.

The chancel S wall has two 2-light Decorated windows similar to those in the aisles, and there is also a single C13 lancet in the chancel S wall. There are three C13 lancets in its N wall. The 3-light E window has Flamboyant tracery.

C13 chancel arch, the responds with engaged shafts and bell capitals. The chancel roof is rustic and plain, probably largely C19, with tie beams and diagonal struts to the principal rafters, a high collar and clasped purlins. The chancel has a C13 piscina with a pointed trefoil head on shafts. No tower arch, but a richly moulded late C13 or early C14 doorway with a medieval door into the tower. The nave roof is a simple, but attractive, tie beam and queen post design, with tracery infill between the queen posts and the principal rafters, above the collars and in the spandrels of the arched braces to the collars. Some timber may be late medieval, but it was much renewed in the C19. There is diagonal boarding behind the rafters. The 4-bay N and S arcades have octagonal piers with moulded capitals and arches of two chamfered orders. The aisle roofs are plain and have diagonal boarding behind the rafters. The E ends of both aisles are enclosed with screens, those on the N late C15, those on the S early C20. A rood stair survives in the NE corner of the S aisle.

Chancel piscina is mid C13 and has a trefoiled arch on shafts with oversized moulded capitals. Adjacent to it is a small recess with an ogee head and a hollow chamfered moulding. Double aumbry in the N wall. The chancel altar is early C20 and has riddel posts with angels; the communion rails are contemporary. Octagonal medieval font with a probably C17 cover.

Parclose screen in N aisle late C15 or early C16 with pretty tracery and depressed ogee headed arches. The cresting has embattled openwork. The chancel screen is similar, but less delicate and has no cresting. Early C20 screen at E end of S aisle, also with 4-centred ogee headed arches and a Tudor arched door. Brattished cresting above a floral cornice.

Good set of probably C16 nave benches. Square ended with moulded tops, they retain their sole plates, original fixings and book rests. In the N aisle another set of C16 benches with square ends and linenfold panelling. C17 pulpit with a tall, polygonal panelled drum on a larger square, panelled, timber base with finials on the corner posts. Probably C17 nave chandeliers. Some late C19 and early C20 glass including the S chancel lancet by Clayton and Bells of the 1870s.

A late C14 brass to Thomas atte Welle, rector, sometimes incorrectly said to be the poet monk John Lidgate (born in Lidgate 1375, d.1451). Ledger slab to John Isaacson, an early C19 rector, signed by Parkinson of Newmarket.

There is much medieval and later graffiti, including 3 late C14 fragments of music, a head of the Virgin Mary on a S arcade pier, and a windmill.

The earliest visible fabric is the long, C13 chancel, but the church was probably built in the C12 and the nave has Norman proportions. The tower was added in the late C13 or early C14 (the work may have been carried out in several phases) and the aisles were added in the C14. There was further work in the late C15, when the nave roof was redone, the chancel and N aisle screens put in and some of the windows modified. The S porch is a later addition and the whole church was restored in the C19. It was refurnished in the 1930s.

Lidgate church originally stood within the outer bailey of Lidgate Castle. The castle is said to have been raised during civil war (1138-53), but the site may have been previously fortified. The castle seems to have largely gone out of use in the later C13. The church was probably intended partly as a castle chapel, and the extensive rebuilding of the church in the late C13 and C14 may represent the ending of the castle┬┐s dominance

Cautley, H M, Suffolk Churches (5th ed, 1982), 325
Mortlock, D P, The Popular Guide to Suffolk Churches, I: West Suffolk (1988)
Pevsner, N, rev. E Radcliffe, The Buildings of England: Suffolk (1974), 333
Jo Cox notes and photos. for the castle

The church of St Mary, Lidgate, Suffolk, is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* A fine medieval church with excellent survival of medieval fabric, not over restored.
* Excellent surviving medieval fittings, including C15 parclose and chancel screens, and C16 benches.

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.