St Lawrence, Knodishall, Suffolk

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Feature Sets (2)


Knodishall is a small village in E Suffolk, 3 miles E of Saxmundham and 3 miles from the coast. It comprises a few houses clustered near the church and the hall site on gently falling land on the N side of the Hundred River valley. It is now an outlier of Knodishall Common; a larger settlement a mile to the SE. The flint and cobble church comprises nave, chancel and W tower; the nave and chancel separately roofed by similar in height and width and with no chancel arch separating them. There are small modern vestries to N and S of the chancel, and the S side of the church has brick buttresses. The nave has no lateral doorways now; both having been blocked in their lower parts to serve as windows. Entry is through the W tower doorway. The blocked N doorway indicates a 12thc. date for the nave. The nave and chancel windows, insofar as they are medieval, are of various dates betweenc.1300 and the 16thc. The chancel contains the remains of a 14thc. piscina. The W tower can be dated toc.1460 by a bequest from John Jenney and his wife, whose brass is inside the church. It has diagonal buttresses and a plain parapet decorated with flushwork. In complete contrast to the attractively muddled exterior, especially on the S side with its mixed masonry, brick buttresses and jumble of windows of different dates and styles, the interior is uncluttered, brightly whitewashed and very well lit through the S windows. The only Romanesque work recorded here is the N doorway.


Roger Bigod was the chief landholder here in 1086. Ranulf fitzWalter held 80 acres from him. Another 30 acres held by Bigod had been held before the Conquest by Edward the Confessor's free man, Boti. It had once been held by William Malet and Robert Malet held the soke. 80 acres in Knodishall formed a berewick of Roger Bigod's manor in Saxmundham. John Jenney is known to have been lord here at his death in 1460.

Benefice of Aldringham with Thorpe, Knodishall with Buxlow and Friston.


Exterior Features


Nave N doorway

Round headed, single order. The upper part of the doorway has been glazed and given a brick sill, below which it is blocked with flint masonry. The jambs and arch are plain and square-sectioned, and the imposts quirked hollow chamfered.

h. of opening 1.78 m
w. of opening 0.845 m



  • H. M. Cautley, Suffolk Churches and their Treasures. London 1937, 285.
  • D. P. Mortlock, The Popular Guide to Suffolk Churches: 3 East Suffolk. Cambridge 1992.
  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Suffolk. Harmondsworth 1961, rev. E. Radcliffe 1975, 318-19.
Exterior from N
Exterior from S
Interior to E


Site Location
National Grid Reference
TM 426 620 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Suffolk
now: Suffolk
medieval: North Elmham (c.950-1071), Thetford (1071-94), Norwich (from 1094)
now: St Edmundsbury and Ipswich
medieval: not confirmed
now: St Lawrence
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Ron Baxter