St Ethelbert, Tannington, Suffolk

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Feature Sets (2)


Tannington is towards the E of the county, 14 miles N of Ipswich and 4 miles NW of Framlingham. The land here is arable and fairly flat. The village consists of a few dwellings and farms scattered in a triangle bounded by the three residences of Tannington Hall (to the N), Tannington Lodge (to the E) and Tannington Place (to the W). Braiseworth Hall is also nearby (not to be confused with the other Braiseworth near Diss, just 7 miles away). The church stands in fields alongside Tannington Place. It consists of a nave and chancel in one, with a S porch to the nave and a N vestry to the chancel, and a W tower. Nave and chancel are of flint, the nave only rendered with mortar. The nave has a blocked 12thc. N doorway. The S nave and chancel doorways and the nave and chancel windows all date from the 14thc. to 15thc. The battlemented S porch, decorated with flushwork and with a niche for sculpture over the entrance, is dateable by wills toc.1450. The E window has the intersecting tracery ofc.1300, and the piscina is of the same period. Inside there is no chancel arch. The tower is 15thc. and built of knapped flint with diagonal buttresses, a SE bell stair and a plinth decorated with chequered flushwork. It has a battlemented parapet. A date of 1879 on the rainwater heads indicates a restoration. The only Romanesque sculpture is on the N doorway of c.1200.


Tannington was held by Eadric of Laxfield before the Conquest, with eight carucates of land, woodland for 200 pigs and 20 acres of meadow. The manor had a church with 30 acres of land. In 1086 it was held by Robert Malet, but for 30 acres held by Richard and 24 acres held by Warin (both from Malet).

Benefice of Worlingworth with Southolt, Tannington, Bedfield and Monk Soham.


Exterior Features


Nave, N doorway

Round headed, of two orders, blocked.

First order: Plain, continuous and chamfered. On the chamfer of the arch is a mason’s mark, probably relating to a restoration.

Second order: En-delit nook-shafts on attic bases. The capitals have two rows of keeled broad leaves; the lower row consisting of a leaf on the centre of each face, rising from the plain roll necking, and the upper of leaves behind on the angles. The upper rim of the bell is shown between the leaf tips and above this is a square abacus with a thin roll at the lower angle. The impost has a quadrant hollow and a keeled angle roll at the bottom of the face. All elements have losses, but the form is clear. The arch has a keeled angle roll between face and soffit hollows, with a thin, keeled roll overhanging the face hollow to form a label.

h. of opening (to bottom of base plinths) 2.02 m
h. of present opening 1.87 m
w. of opening 0.95 m


The design, capital and base types and arch mouldings of the S doorway are closely comparable with St Mary's, Sweffling only seven miles SE of Tannington. This doorway must also be dated c.1190-1210.


  • H. M. Cautley, Suffolk Churches and their Treasures. London 1937, 325.
  • D. P. Mortlock, The Popular Guide to Suffolk Churches: 2 Central Suffolk. Cambridge 1990, 210-11.
  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Suffolk. Harmondsworth 1961, rev. E. Radcliffe 1975, 459.
Exterior from SE.
Interior to E.


Site Location
National Grid Reference
TM 242 675 
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 Ethelbert
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Ron Baxter