We use cookies to improve your experience, some are essential for the operation of this site.

Preface to Suffolk

Suffolk is a county in eastern England, forming most of the southern part of the East Anglian peninsula, with a coastline of some fifty miles running from the southern suburbs of Great Yarmouth in the north to Felixstowe and the Stour estuary in the south. It is bordered by Norfolk on the north, by Essex on the south and by Cambridgeshire on the west. Its greatest breadth is some fifty miles, making it the thirteenth in area of the English counties. The geology of the county has meant that the best of its Romanesque sculptuire is in imported stone; a resource not available to many parish churches. Its highlights are therefore few, but all the more remarkable for that.

Geology, landscape and agriculture

The entire county has a substratum of chalk, which outcrops only in the NW corner. Elsewhere it is covered; generally by glacial sands, gravels and boulder clay but in the east by crag (red or buff shelly sandstone). The boulder clay, or till, covers the whole of central and western Suffolk and forms the typical flat landscape of the Anglian plain. This area of rich loam often goes by the name of High Suffolk. In the south of the county the rivers Gipping, Deben and Stour and their numerous tributaries produce a much more varied landscape. Constable country, around East Bergholt, Flatford and the river Stour has become the epitome of the rolling English lowland landscape. In the eastern coastal belt, the peninsulas of Felixstowe and Shotley are similarly covered with rich loam, but north of the Deben estuary the coastal belt is sandy, known as the Sandlings, with some heathland. In the far NW corner the landscape has the low, fenny nature of its neighbour, Cambridgeshire, and to the east of this, around Knettishall and Lakenheath, are the sandy heaths known as the Brecklands. Further east still, towards Beccles and Lowestoft are the broads, more extensive over the border in Norfolk. The sand cliffs of the E coast are subject to erosion by the sea. For medievalists the most famous example is Dunwich, and the story of its decline from a major port to a small village as its buildings disappeared into the sea is told in the relevant site report. Evidence of erosion is visible along great stretches of the coast between Lowestoft and Orford, and the OS maps provide evidence of villages half-lost and roads stopping abruptly at the cliff-edge.

The rich loams of High Suffolk and the Shotley and Felixstowe peninsulas support arable farming with a wide variety of crops including cereals and beans. The most distinctive crop is sugar beet, introduced following the establishment of England’s first refinery at Cantley (Norfolk). Refineries were set up at Bury St Edmunds and Ipswich by the 1920s.

Warrens were areas dedicated to the keeping and breeding of rabbits for food and fur (not to be confused with the right of free warren, which could be granted by the king to manorial lords allowing them to hunt hare, rabbits, pheasant and partridge over their property). Rabbits were brought to Britain soon after the Conquest, and initially needed careful husbandry to ensure their survival. They need sandy heathland for burrowing, and warrens were set up from the 12thc onwards in the Brecklands of NW Suffolk and the Sandlings of the SE. Many survive. In some cases, as at Knettishall in the Brecklands, mounds were made for the rabbits to burrow into. Lakenheath Warren nearby was set up by the prior of Ely in 1251. Over the centuries the land was over-grazed by the rabbits, and soil erosion became a problem. In the 1660s sand dunes spread over 1000 acres at Lakenheath warren. Rabbits themselves also became a major pest, destroying crops, and demand for them for the table fell in the face of competition from Belgium and France, so that by the late-19thc control of rabbit numbers had become a pressing problem. They were shot for sport, and later trapped by warreners employed by the Forestry Commission. In the early 1950s, when this was found to be insufficient, myxomatosis was introduced.

Building materials

Flint, found in the chalk, was used everywhere in the Middle Ages for masonry, and the chalk clunch was very commonly employed for carving. In the later Middle Ages and afterwards, the flint was sometimes knapped, or split, to expose the dark, shiny interior. Flushwork decoration, whereby designs were made from knapped flint and cut ashlar blocks, was used to enliven flint masonry from the 14thc onwards.

Flushwork at Holy Trinity, Barsham

Septaria, limestone and clay concretions that were quarried from the marshes or dredged from the sea along the coast between Orford Ness and the Naze, is sometimes found mixed with the flint. These nodules were later used in the production of Parker’s Roman Cement (patented in 1796).

Wantisden, in the SE Suffolk coastal heathland, one of Suffolk's remotest churches

The coralline crag was used for building in the SE of the county. The only two church towers of this material in the entire country are within a couple of miles of one another, at Chillesford and Wantisden, but it is found in humbler contexts around Aldeburgh, Framlingham and Orford. Brick was much used, as early as the 12c in the arcades at Polstead, but not generally until the later Middle Ages, as in the Tudor porch at Shadingfield. Roofing is commonly of thatch, but churches have often been reroofed in inappropriate materials. When ashlar was required for facing it had to be imported and this was not often done. It is found at Bury St Edmunds, of course, and in the great Perpendicular churches at Long Melford and Lavenham where conspicuous display was important.

St Edmund's Fritton, a 12thc flint church with round tower, apsidal; E end and thatched roof

Population and Settlement

The Domesday Survey was not strictly a census. Although it noted people of various classes; knights, vassals, free men, sokemen, villans, cottars, bordars and slaves, and sometimes recorded their numbers, women were not generally mentioned unless they had land, and neither were members of families other than the head. Nevertheless it is possible to compare one county with another, and Suffolk was certainly one of the most populous in England in 1086. The reasons are easy enough to see. It has a coast facing mainland Europe, which provided both ports for trade and fishing, and strategic sites. Ipswich, Lowestoft, Felixstowe, Dunwich and Orford were all medieval ports and Orford, at least, was fortified. Inland, the soil was fertile and could support a large population, except in the far NW, where the fenlands were still largely undrained bogs.

Historians of settlement patterns have developed the concepts of nucleation and dispersion to provide pictures of the way landscapes were populated (see the works by Roberts and Wrathmell). Nucleation deals with towns and villages, which are generally mapped using dots of different sizes related to the size of the settlement. Dispersion deals with settlement in the countryside, isolated houses and farms. The dispersion density is said to be high if there are many of these in a given area, and low if there are few. A low figure might be fewer than five isolated houses or farms in a two-kilometre square; a high one might be more than twenty. Patterns of dispersion relate above all to population, which in turn was determined in the Middle Ages by what the land could support, and by such factors as the type of landscape, the presence of woodland and the fertility of the soil. In the Brecklands and fenland of NW Suffolk dispersion densities are low, while on the rich farmlands of High Suffolk, e.g. around Debenham or Framlingham, they are much higher. A glance at the Ordnance Survey Landranger map will make this distinction clear. In national terms, the entire SE of England including East Anglia is an area of low nucleation figures and high dispersion densities compared with the so-called Central Province that runs in a broad strip down the country from the North Sea to the English Channel. In simpler terms, while central England is characterised by broad, open fields and many villages and towns, the SE has fewer villages and a higher proportion of isolated dwellings and farms. A prerequisite of this kind of analysis is a complete and detailed mapping of the country, and this was not undertaken for Suffolk until 1805-37, when the First Series Ordnance Survey appeared. Settlement was clearly not the same in the Middle Ages (and is not the same now), but evidence from the Domesday Survey and from such data as place-names, documentary records and existing and excavated medieval buildings can do much to take the picture back to the 11thc and 12thc. The 19thc pattern of dispersion, for example, is largely confirmed for our period by a study of the size of parishes. Lackford Hundred in the far NW of Suffolk contains only 14 parishes, and those of Lakenheath and Mildenhall are by far the largest in the county. The number of parishes is confirmed, more or less, for 1086 by records of churches in the Domesday Survey. Hartismere Hundred, further east is far more typical of the county. It is of similar size to Lackford but contains 31 parishes.

Large towns

Ipswich is easily the largest town today, with a population of 117,000 in 2001. Lowestoft has 62,000, Bury St Edmunds 33,000 and Felixstowe 29,000.

Ipswich emerged in the 7thc as a port and market serving the Wuffingas, the East Anglian dynasty of the 7thc and 8thc best known for the burial site at nearby Sutton Hoo, and for King Redwald (d.625), usually assumed to have been the occupant of the most celebrated of the Sutton Hoo burials. Ipswich had a mint by 970 and was clearly an important economic centre by that time. It was the target of Danish raids in the 10thc and 11thc. The last of these, in 1069, was disastrous to the town, and the Domesday Survey presents a picture of its devastation. Its recovery was rapid. The burgesses enjoyed a good deal of freedom. In 1086 the town was farmed out by the sheriff, Roger Bigod, and by the end of the 12thc the burgesses themselves had taken control of the town. Domesday recorded six churches in the town in 1086, and the Austin canons’ priories of SS Peter and Paul and the Holy Trinity were both founded in the 12thc.

Lowestoft was a herring fishing village of no more than a hundred people in 1086, and its growth during the Middle Ages was restricted by the presence of Yarmouth, which had a better natural harbour. It did not come to prominence until Samuel Morton Peto turned his attention to it from the 1840s onwards, building a railway line to link it with the rest of the network, a thousand-ship harbour and luxury hotels to establish it as a seaside resort.

Felixstowe is a port between the estuaries of the Orwell and the Deben, at the tip of the Colneis peninsula. It is not named in the Domesday survey, but in William II’s reign the church of St Felix at Walton (now a suburb of Felixstowe) was given by Roger Bigod to the monastery of St Andrew in Rochester, and monks from Rochester soon established a cell at Walton, to which Bigod contributed the churches of Walton and Felixstowe and the manor of Felixstowe. Walton was originally the more important site, and had a Roman fort. Since the later Middle Ages Felixstowe has been associated with the defence of the realm. The creek called Kingsfleet that runs into the Deben estuary north of the town got its name from the fact that Edward III assembled his fleet there in 1338 in preparation for a French campaign. Landguard Fort at the mouth of the Orwell estuary was built by Henry VIII and in 1667 repelled a Dutch invasion force under Admiral de Ruyter. The town’s defensive appearance is enhanced by its four early 19thc Martello towers. The port was created in 1886 in the Orwell estuary, facing Harwich, and Felixstowe now has the UK’s largest container port. It was in the 19thc too that Felixstowe’s growth as a seaside resort began.

Bury St Edmunds is situated on the river Lark in central west Suffolk. In some accounts a monastery was founded as early as c.630 by Sigeberht, King of the East Angles but this is speculative. What is certain is that in c.903 the body of St Edmund was translated from Hoxne to Beodricsworth, and the name was changed to Bury St Edmunds. The monastery received generous grants of the surrounding land from Edmund, son of Edward the Elder in 945. The town was planned around the abbey, and was one of four known Suffolk markets in the 10thc, the others being at Ipswich, Dunwich and Sudbury. The Domesday Survey describes an expansion of the town that took place between 1066 and 1086, when the farmland encircling it was enclosed and housed 30 priests, deacons and clerics, and 28 nuns together with 75 lay people who were bakers, brewers, tailors, washerwomen, shoemakers, robemakers, cooks, porters and bursars in service of the abbey, and 13 reeves in charge of the land, with five bordars under them, and 34 knights with 22 bordars under them. In all there were 342 new houses on land that had been arable. In 1191 abbot Samson received complaints from his monks that townsmen were encroaching on the abbey market, and making their payments to the town reeves rather than the abbey. This dispute was not resolved until 1201, when King John decreed that no-one except the abbot could hold a market or fair within the entire Liberty of St Edmund (i.e. the whole of West Suffolk).

Smaller towns

In 1086 there were seven places in Suffolk that were undoubtedly towns; Beccles, Bury, Clare, Dunwich, Eye, Ipswich and Sudbury. Wade and Dymond (in Dymond and Martin 1999) have also identified six other places with markets or a recognisable town plan, in Blythburgh, Bungay, Haverhill, Hoxne, Kelsale and Stowmarket. Two other small towns that emerged during the 12thc were associated with castles; Framlingham and Orford. Wade and Dymond also identified a total of 98 markets established by 1547, testifying to the growth of urban life, especially in the 13thc, and many of them are closely related to coastal and river traffic. Travelling up the Orwell, for example, there was a market at Shotley, near the mouth, one at Ipswich and others at Needham Market and Stowmarket. Some market towns, like Halesworth and Woodbridge, developed into important towns, while others retrenched or simply failed, and villages like Mendlesham and Bildeston, both granted markets in the 13thc, still have recognisable town plans and market places.

Parishes, hundreds and liberties

For administrative purposes the county was divided into hundreds from the 10thc onwards, or even earlier. Each perhaps originally comprised a hundred hides or family holdings, and by 1086 there were 25 of them. Some were rated as half-hundreds (Cosford, Parham), while other were double hundreds (Blackbourn and Bradmere, Babergh ). Each hundred had its own court, originally known as a moot, dealing with public law. For more serious matters there was the county court. The names of the Suffolk hundreds were taken from their original open-air meeting places; landmarks such as fords (Lackford, Wangford) or meres (Hartismere, Bosmere). Hundred and County Courts began to lose their importance with the growth of royal justice and the establishment of Quarter Sessions from the 13thc onwards, but Petty Sessions were held within hundreds until the 19thc.

There were two large Liberties in Suffolk, areas where royal jurisdiction was delegated to a monastery. The Liberty of St Etheldreda was granted by King Edgar to Ely abbey in 970, and transferred to the Prior and Monks when the bishopric of Ely was founded in 1109. It covered the SE of the county; the hundreds of Plumesgate, Loes, Thredling, Carlford, Wilford and Colneis. The Liberty of St Edmund, in the west of Suffolk, had formed the dowry of Emma, wife of Canute, and was granted by her son Edward the Confessor to Bury St Edmund’s Abbey in the early 11thc. In addition to these major liberties there were smaller feudal liberties, like the Honours of Eye and Clare. The Honour of Eye was the name given to the scattered lands of Eadric of Laxfield centred on Eye and later granted to William Malet, a companion of the Conqueror at Hastings. It passed out of the Malet family when William’s grandson, another William, was dispossessed for treason by Henry I. Henry granted it to his nephew Stephen of Blois in 1113 or 13, and it thus passed to Henry II, who granted it to Hugh Bigod, 1st Earl of Norfolk. The Honour of Clare was centred on Clare castle in SW Suffolk and comprised the lands of Richard fitzGilbert, Earl of Brionne and Lord of Clare. The honour remained in the family, who became Earls of Gloucester and Hertford by the 13thc.

Suffolk after the Conquest

The first Norman Earl of East Anglia, based at Norwich Castle, was Ralph Wader, or Guader, also called Ralph the Gael, a Breton. He rebelled against King William, and was defeated by William de Warrene, his lands being given to Count Alan of Brittany, William I’s son in law. Richard fitzGilbert, son of Count Gilbert de Brionne, was rewarded for his part in the defeat of Earl Ralph and gained 170 English lordships, 95 of them in Suffolk centred on Clare Castle (see Honour of Clare above). Another Norman, Roger Bigod, was granted 117 manors in Suffolk, and was given the Earldom. Robert Malet, son of William Malet, inherited 221 holdings in Suffolk.

Four of these men; Count Alan, Richard fitzGilbert, Roger Bigod and Robert Malet were among the greatest lay landholders in Suffolk in 1086. The others were Robert, Count of Mortain, Earl Hugh, Roger de Poitou, and Bishop Odo of Bayeux. Count Alan’s holdings were mainly in the SE of the county in the hundreds of Bosmere, Claydon, Samford, Carlsford, Loose, Wilford, Blything, Plumesgate and the Parham half-hundred. The holdings of fitzGilbert , Bigod and Malet have already been described. Robert of Mortain was a half-brother of the Conqueror and a full brother of Odo of Bayeux. Although he had large holdings in England, including the Rape of Pevensey in Sussex and the county of Cornwall, and was, in fact, the third greatest lay magnate in the land he seems to have taken little interest in his possessions or in English politics and spent most of his life in France. Hugh d’Avranches was a nephew of William I and father-in-law of Robert of Mortain, and was created 1st Earl of Chester in 1071. His campaigns against the Welsh occupied most of his time and energies, and he took most of North Wales for the king in the 1080s, losing it again after the revolt of 1094. He had holdings in twenty English counties. Roger de Poitou was the third son of Roger of Montgomery, Earl of Shrewsbury. Roger de Poitou had holdings in eight counties in 1086, but during the disputes over the throne in 1094 and in the early years of Henry I’s reign he unerringly backed the wrong horse (Robert Curthose) and was dispossessed of his English lands in 1102 and was exiled to France. Odo of Bayeux was William’s half brother and the greatest lay magnate in England after the king until 1082, when he was suddenly disgraced and imprisoned for planning a military expedition to Italy. In 1087 William was persuaded on his deathbed by Robert of Mortain, his half brother, to reinstate Odo, who promptly organised a rebellion to oust William II for Robert Curthose. William permitted his uncle to leave the kingdom, and he remained in Normandy thereafter, in the service of Curthose.

Religious History

The whole of Suffolk belonged to the medieval diocese of East Anglia, successively centred at Dunwich, Elmham, Thetford and, from 1094, Norwich. In 1837 the Norwich diocese was divided, West Suffolk joining the Ely diocese and East Suffolk remaining with Norwich. The diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, centred at Bury St Edmunds, was founded in 1914 to include the whole of Suffolk except for the Deanery of Lothingland in the extreme NE of the county, which remained in the Norwich diocese.

The East Anglian diocese was founded in the 630s by St Felix, who was sent as a missionary by Honorius, Archbishop of Canterbury. He established the first see at Donmoc, usually identified as Dunwich, and in the later 7thc the see was divided into two with seats at Dunwich and Elmham (usually identified with North Elmham, Norfolk, although South Elmham, Suffolk, also has claims). In the later 9thc the Danish invaders murdered King Edmund of the East Angles and Bishop Hunbeorht of Elmham, the country was ravaged and monasteries and churches destroyed. The see was revived in the 920s by Bishop Theodred, who seems to have established a seat at Hoxne while retaining that at Elmham. In the 1070s Bishop Herfast moved the see to Thetford, where it remained until 1094 when Bishop Herbert Losinga founded Norwich priory and moved the see there, staffing it with monks rather than secular canons.

Suffolk, then, had no Norman cathedral, but in Bury St Edmunds it had one of the richest Benedictine abbeys in the country. Its foundation probably dates from 903, when the relics of St Edmund were brought to Beodricsworth from Hoxne. A large wooden church was built to house them and six secular clerks were appointed to guard the shrine. The relics were temporarily moved to London in 1010, following rumours of a Danish invasion. In 1020, twenty monks were installed at Bury and the seculars discharged. A new stone church was begun by Cnut, who also granted a generous charter of endowments and liberties, and Uvius was elected first abbot of Bury. In 1071, Abbot Baldwin (1065-97) visited Pope Alexander II to oppose bishop Herfast’s attempt to move the see of East Anglia to Bury, and towards the end of his abbacy Baldwin began the building of the church whose ruins survive today. The body of St Edmund was translated to the new church in 1095.

The Benedictines also had priories of monks at Eye, with a cell at Dunwich, and at Edwardstone, Hoxne, Rumburg, Snape and Felixstowe, but most were small and all were originally cells of houses outside the county. There were houses of Benedictine nuns at Bungay and Redlingfield. The Cluniacs had Mendham Priory, a cell of Castle Acre, and Wangford, dependant on Thetford Priory, while the Cistercians had only one house, at Sibton and the Premonstratensians one at Leiston..

By far the commonest type of religious foundation was the priory of Austin canons. Ipswich had two (Holy Trinity and SS Peter and Paul) and there were important houses at Butley and Ixworth. Others of less importance were Blythburgh, Letheringham, Alnesbourn, Bricett, Chipley, Dodnash, Herringfleet, Kersey and Woodbridge. There were also houses of Austin nuns at Campsea and Flixton.

Turning to the orders of mendicant friars, there were Dominican houses at Dunwich, Ipswich and Sudbury and Franciscans at Dunwich, Ipswich and Babwell. The Austin friars had houses at Gorleston, Orford and Clare, the Carmelites one at Ipswich and the Poor Clares one of only four in the country at Bruisyard. The Knights Templar had a house at Dunwich.

There were 17 hospitals in the county, 11 of them specifically for lepers and most sited in the larger towns of Bury (five), Ipswich (three) and Dunwich (two). The Collegiate churches of the county were few and late. VCH lists Mettingham, Bruisyard, Wingfield, Stoke-by-Clare, Denston and Jesus College, Bury St Edmunds, all founded in the 14thc or 15thc.

Romanesque architecture and sculpture

Little remains of the great Abbey of Bury St Edmunds except the much-altered west front, the remains rubble cores of the transepts and E crypt, and the richly-arcaded Norman Gate.

The Norman Gate of Bury St Edmunds Abbey

The churches of Orford, with its chancel arcade and crossing, Polstead, with its precocious brick arcades, and Ousden, with its 12thc crossing tower, are the best of the larger Romanesque parish churches, while an example of a complete small church with a round W tower survives at Fritton.

The S arcade of Polstead has brick arches and clunch piers and capitals

East Anglia is famous for its round W towers. Approximately 185 are known in England, of which 120 are in Norfolk and 42 in Suffolk. They are notoriously difficult to date; an Anglo-Saxon origin is generally claimed for them but in many cases the earliest dateable features are Romanesque windows. Wortham is the biggest in diameter, but has lost its top. Examples with Romanesque features are at Thorington and Little Saxham.

Romanesque bell-openings in the round tower of St Peter's, Thorington

There are elaborate Romanesque doorways at Braiseworth, Great Bricett, Henstead, Kelsale, Poslingford, Sapiston, and Wissington, while a tradition of clunch doorways has been identified in the Westhal group on the east coast (Herringfleet, North Cove, Ilketshall St Andrew, Henstead, Redisham, Wissett, Westhall, Cookley, Blyford, Badingham and Theberton).

Clunch doorways at Westhall and Blyford

In St Nicholas, Ipswich are the most celebrated pieces of Romanesque sculpture in the county: the tympanum with St Michael and the Dragon, the boar tympanum and three Apostle reliefs.

The relief of St Michael and the Dragon at St Nicholas, Ipswich

St Peter’s, Ipswich houses an important Tournai font and there is a fragment of another in Ipswich Museum. Both are carved, with lions and dragons respectively. An uncarved Tournai font survives at Boulge.

A detail of the Tournai font bowl at St Peter's, Ipswich

Cheaper Purbeck and Sussex marble fonts were commonly imported to Suffolk in the late-12thc and 13thc. Examples may be seen at Tunstall, South Elmham All Saints and Hemley. Of the more elaborately carved local fonts, those at Preston St Mary, Hawkedon and Little Thurlow form a group with square bowls with angle shafts and faces carved with arcading, foliage or interlace. Other fonts of this type, but not closely related are at Kettlebaston and Great Bricett. The S doorway at Poslingford, elaborately carved with a tympanum, is another work by the sculptors of the Preston font.

The font at Preston St Mary

The castles of Orford and Framlingham are architecturally important but contain little in the way of Romanesque sculpture. Moyses Hall in Bury is an important later-12thc house that now houses a museum.

A detail of the S doorway of St Mary's, Poslingford

Recording and acknowledgements

All the fieldwork and photography was carried out by Ron Baxter in 2005 and 2006, and he also wrote the site reports. Photography was done using a Nikon Coolpix 8700 camera. The images were edited and prepared for web delivery by Anna Bentkowska-Kafel and the web pages were produced by Sophie Church. The author would like to thank the clergy and churchwardens of Suffolk for their generous help in arranging access to the churches in their care. Thanks are also due to the owners of former churches that have been converted to other uses, who have been unfailingly generous in allowing access to the CRSBI. Most of the Romanesque sculpture in Suffolk is in parish churches, but the staff of English Heritage, and in particular of Orford Castle, and the museums of Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds are also owed a debt of thanks. The author would also like to thank Brian Roberts for opening his eyes to the value of the study of rural settlement.


The Domesday Survey is the most valuable of our sources, and the author habitually uses the Penguin edition (A. Williams and G. H. Martin, Domesday Book. A Complete Translation, London 1992 (2003 edition)) because it contains the entire text. Scholars concerned only with Suffolk might be better served by the Phillimore edition (J. Morris (ed.), The Domesday Book: Suffolk. Chichester 1985). An invaluable guide to the county is provided by D. Dymond and E. Martin (eds), An Historical Atlas of Suffolk. Ipswich 1988 (revised and enlarged 1999). For a guide to the study of rural settlement, two works by B. K. Roberts and S. Wrathmell are invaluable: Region and Place: A study of English rural settlement, London (English Heritage) 2002; and An Atlas of Rural Settlement in England. London 2000.

The scholar looking for a detailed history of Suffolk’s parishes is frustrated because a good deal of work has been carried out but very little published. The two Victoria County History volumes of 1907 and 1911 contain general articles on the county and articles on its religious houses. Prior to this, Rev. Alfred Suckling made a start on a multi-volume history, The History and Antiquities of the County of Suffolk, but published only two volumes, in 1846 and 1848, covering just the hundreds of Wangford, Mutford and Lothingland and part of Blything in the NE of the county. John Gage’s The History and Antiquities of Suffolk: Thingoe Hundred (1838) was a similar promising start but again went no further. He died in 1842, leaving a collection of notebooks to Cambridge University Library. Earlier scholars who left only manuscript works include Harry Jermyn (1767-1820) who left over 50 volumes of notes, now in the British Library, and David Elisha Davy (1769-1851) who left collections on the county running to more than ninety volumes that were bought by the British Museum in 1852. In all more than fifty antiquaries made collections of historical information on the county, and a useful guide to their work is John Blatchly’s Topographers of Suffolk (Suffolk Record Office 1976).

Suffolk’s medieval buildings are well served in the literature. For church architecture, H. M. Cautley’s Suffolk Churches and their Treasures, first published in 1937, remains unsurpassed. It is a model of its kind, including analytical chapters on Suffolk church history and church features; an alphabetical gazetteer with short notes on each building and a map of the diocese of St Edmundsbury divided into parishes and archdeaconries. It is lavishly illustrated and Cautley’s analysis is always interesting and perceptive. Pevsner’s Buildings of England volume was published in 1961 and revised by Enid Radcliffe in 1975. D. P. Mortlock’s 3-volume Popular Guide to Suffolk Churches, which appeared between 1988 and 1992 is a catalogue of all the Anglican churches in the county then in use, including those cared for by the Redundant Churches Fund (now Churches Conservation Trust) that were used occasionally for services. Thus it includes the great majority of the sites included in this corpus. The entries are long on detail, especially concerning furnishings and memorials, but short on the kind of architectural analysis that makes Pevsner so satisfying; nevertheless it is a useful guide. The value of church guides to the scholar is, here as always, extremely variable. Mention must be made of Roy Tricker, who wrote guides for the Churches Conservation Trust and for many Suffolk parish churches still in use. There are no RCHME Inventory volumes for the county.

Turning to web resources, Simon Knott’s site at http://www.suffolkchurches.co.uk/Alist.htm is invaluable to anyone with an interest in Suffolk churches. The Round Tower Churches Society has a website at https://www.roundtowers.org.uk/. The Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and History (https://www.suffolkinstitute.org.uk/) has many useful resources, including an online bibliography of articles published in their journal.