All Saints, Little Bradley, Suffolk

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Feature Sets (3)


The villages of Great and Little Bradley are in the Stour valley N of Haverhill; their churches less than a mile apart. All Saints has an aisleless nave, chancel and W tower. The nave is 12thc., with a plain Romanesque chancel arch and a 12thc. S doorway under a flint and timber porch. Its N doorway has been replaced by a 19thc. window. The eastern part of the chancel is early 12thc., with two plain lancets in the N wall (one blocked) and signs of two more in the E wall. The western section of the chancel has thicker walls and is presumably 11thc. The original eastern angles are visible on the present side walls, indicating that the original chancel was lower as well as shorter. Mortlock claims that there is long and short work here, but it is a later repair. At the W end of the nave, the tower arch is small enough to be called a doorway (and it was fitted with a door and a wooden tympanum to square off the opening in the 16thc.) This leads to a W tower, circular and presumably 11thc. in its lower stage, with flint course laid in herringbone patterns, and octagonal above, with a battlement with double stepped merlons. There are plain round-headed lancets in the lower walls to N, S and W, but they are all restored. Construction is of flint, with herringbone work on the lower part of the tower and the western part of the chancel. Romanesque work reported here is in the chancel arch, the tower arch and the S doorway.


Great and Little Bradley comprised three holdings in 1086. St Edmund's abbey held one, consisting of two parcels of 60 acres held from the abbey by a total of 12 free men. Richard fitzGilbert held a second holding, and four free men, Wulfwine, Leofric, Leofwine and Bondi from him. The third was Robert de Tosny's demesne holding of 7 carucates, held before the Conquest by Thegn Ulf. This is assumed to be Great Bradley. The church of Little Bradley was given by Albrinus, son of Ercald, to Stoke by Clare, originally a cell of Bec, and later a collegiate church. The manor was held by Thomas Knighton at the Dissolution, and the church contains a brass, reputedly of his son, also Thomas (d.1532). Monuments to Richard le Hunt (d.1540) and John and Jane le Hunte (1605); and a brass of Thomas and Elizabeth Soame (1612) indicate later lords of Little Bradley.

Stourhead benefice, i.e. Barnardiston, Great and Little Bradley, Great and Little Thurlow, Great and Little Wratting and Kedington.


Exterior Features


S nave doorway

Round headed, one order. Plain and continuous with a chamfer.

h. of opening 2.15 m
w. of opening 0.94 m

Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches

Chancel arch

Round headed, one order. Jambs and arch are plain and square in section, and separated by chamfered imposts with squared-off angle rolls. The NW section of the N impost has been replaced, and the imposts have both been notched for a screen towards the E of the opening.

Tower/Transept arches

Tower arch

Round headed, one order. The jambs and arch are plain and square, and the imposts plain chamfered. At some time in the 16thc. a wooden tympanum was inserted to square off the opening, and below it a doorframe with carved spandrels. The present door is not the original one.

h. of 12thc. opening (to apex of arch) 2.35 m
w. of 12thc. opening 1.17 m


All the Romanesque work here is extremely plain, but the church itself is of interest owing to the evidence of two separate campaigns before the early 12thc.


  • Victoria County History: Suffolk II (1975), 154-55.

  • D. P. Mortlock, The Popular Guide to Suffolk Churches: 1 W Suffolk. Cambridge 1988, 140-41.

  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Suffolk. Harmondsworth 1961, rev. E. Radcliffe 1975, 335.

Exterior from SE
Chancel from NE.
W tower from S.
Interior to E.


Site Location
Little Bradley
National Grid Reference
TL 682 521 
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
now: All Saints
medieval: All Saints (pre-Reformation)
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Ron Baxter 
Visit Date
14 June 2005