St Michael, Hunston, Suffolk
- Site Location
- National Grid Reference
- TL 976 680
; Thetford 1071-94
now: St Edmundsbury and Ipswich since 1914.
now (or name of monument): St Michael
- Type of building/monument
- Parish church
II General Description
Hunston is nearly 8 miles E of the centre of Bury St Edmunds in flattish farmland, mostly arable. The village lies on the minor road linking it with Stowlangtoft, Badwell Ash and Walsham-le-Willows, and the church stands in farmland 0.3 miles S of the village centre. It is in the grounds of the former hall, but this is now gone and there are farm buildings S of the church. St Michael's has a W tower, nave with S transept and chancel. The tower is of knapped flint and dates from the 14thc. The nave, chancel and transept are of flint in mortar. The nave is 13thc, with N and S doorways of that period, the S under a timber porch. There is a blocked 13thc. S window and the N windows are 14th and 15thc. work. The transept has a W doorway, E windows and a double piscina, all of the 13thc. The chancel and its arch are 13thc. too, but its roof has been heightened with brick and it was restored in 1887. A carved 12thc. window head is reused in the masonry of the chancel N wall, and the author thanks Colin Myram for alerting him to its presence. The plain font is also said to be 12thc.
III Exterior Features
3. Exterior Decoration
(i) Window head (reset)
Reset in the masonry of the N chancel wall, alongside the NE angle buttress at ground level.
The arch is round headed with a slight step at the intrados and a splay within. The arch face is carved in low relief with concentric bands of ornament, from the intrados: a double roll; a row of drilled beading; a row of single cable; a roll, and a row of drilled beading.
|Max. h. of block||0.34 m|
|Max. w. of block||0.28 m|
|Diameter of opening||0.15 m|
At the W end of the nave, an unlined, plain tub-shaped font with a thick, projecting lower rim. The bowl stands on three 19thc. shafts, on a plain round base with a square step. Only the bowl is medieval, and its surface has been completely retooled with vertical tool marks. The rim is damaged at the north, and has a lead repair at the SE.
|h of bowl||0.375 m|
|Ext. diameter at upper rim||0.56 m|
|int. diameter||0.43 m|
Before the Conquest Edith, a free woman, held the commendation of seven free men holding a half-carucate in Hunston. This land was held by the King in 1086. The major holding, however, was of two carucates of ploughland in the hands of nine free men owing sake, soke and commendation to St Edmundsbury Abbey. Six of these men and one and a half carucates were held by Burcard. There was a church with 15 acres of free land.
Badwell and Walsham benefice, i.e. Badwell Ash, Finningham, Great Ashfield, Hunston, Langham, Stowlangtoft, Walsham-le-Willows and Westhorpe
The decoration of the reset window head may date fromc.1120-30. No precise parallels occur in the county. This and the font are the only evidence of the 12thc. church. The large 13thc. S transept should be compared with Pakenham, where the transept was replaced in the 19thc.
- H. M. Cautley, Suffolk Churches and their Treasures. London 1937, 277.
- D. P. Mortlock, The Popular Guide to Suffolk Churches: 1 West Suffolk. Cambridge 1988, 114-15.
- N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Suffolk. Harmondsworth 1961, rev. E. Radcliffe 1975, 281-82.