Exterior

Exterior

There is much which is noteworthy in the exterior of this church, which is pleasantly situated in a trim churchyard. Beside the churchyard gate is the War Memorial of World Wars I and II. The World War I German gun which stood beside the Memorial for many years, was in 1985 taken out of store and presented to the Royal Anglian Regiment for restoration and safe keeping.

The roof of the church is thatched, as were many church roofs in East Anglia in mediaeval days. This roof was last carefully re-thatched in 1973 by Rackham and Son, during the Rev. C. Ralph's incumbency, and costs met.

The Western Tower is circular and has an octagonal belfry stage. With about five exceptions, round towers are found only in East Anglia, and nearly all date from Saxon or Norman times. This shape was convenient for building in these parts, as there was no local stone for quoins at the comers. This is a Norman tower, although its two-light west window is a 15th century 'Perpendicular' insertion. Above this is a single lancet window, which was probably inserted when the tower received its octagonal belfry stage about 1300. This stage has double 'Y' traceried windows on its cardinal faces and similar patterns in flushwork on the other four faces. The fine embattled parapet was added later still, during the 15th Century (the Perpendicular period). It displays some fine flushwork in flint and stone and has the bases of former pinnacles at the eight comers. Around the parapet base is an interesting display of carved heads. Four of these are gargoyles, which drain the rainwater from the tower roof. The other four comers have similar carved heads and a tiny carved face appears at the centre of each side.

The North Side of the nave has two double Perpendicular windows of which the westernmost has been renewed. The western chancel window has 'V' tracery (c. 1300). Beside it, about half-way up, is a string-course, above which is a stone corbel table. These remain from the Norman church and their eastern limits mark the end of the original chancel, which was lengthened eastwards about 1300. The north-east chancel window, of three-lights, was built of Tudor brick about 1500, and has a brick hood-mould and later wooden mullions.

The East WaIl contains a mixture of building materials, including flint, brick and stone, the latter coming possibly from the Norman church. The elegant three-light east window has been renewed during comparatively recent times.

The South Side of the chancel is lit by two Perpendicular windows, each with a hood-mould and one corbel head remaining. The square-headed window is later than the other. Nearby is the southern corbel-table. The priest's doorway was inserted when the chancel was lengthened. The South aisle, originally dating from the 15th century, was carefully rebuilt in 1846, when its eastern doorway and coat of arms were added. The south wall has Perpendicular windows and is supported by fine lushwork buttresses, on which are various religious symbols and emblems of the Doughty family. The roof is drained by three large and splendid animal gargoyles. Near the west end of this aisle is a table-tomb commemorating a former Rector, the Rev'd Wm. Fenn (died 1675), who was ejected from the living by the Cromwellians for his loyalty to the King and to the English Church. Part of the inscription reads 'This is to sit upon'. On the buttress beside it is a mediaeval Mass-dial, which indicated the times of services before the days of clocks. In the nave, west of the porch, is a two-light Perpendicular window, with flanking corbel heads.

The porch is a fine example of the mediaeval builders' craft and was erected about 1470. Flushwork beautifies the base, the buttresses and the south face. The bases of pinnacles can be seen on the parapet. There are heads at the comers and a gargoyle on the western side. In the south face
is a fine canopied niche, beneath which is the handsome Perpendicular entrance arch, with the crossed keys of St. Peter and the crossed swords of St. Paul in its spandrels. When in 1890 some seventy members of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology visited the church, they suggested that
the two emblematical shields indicated an original dual dedication. Inside, to the west of the outer entrance, are fragments of carved stone from other parts of the church. The 14th century inner entrance arch is moulded throughout, almost to the base.

On the eastern wall is part of a German Zeppelin which was brought down nearby in 1917. Some of its crew were buried in the churchyard extension until the 1970's when their remains were removed to a German cemetery in Staffordshire.

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