St Mary, Naughton, Suffolk

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Feature Sets (2)


Naughton is a village in the rolling arable farmland of S central Suffolk, 9 miles W of the centre of Ipswich. It consists of houses with the church and a moated site at a junction of two minor roads just off the B1078 Sudbury to Needham Market road. Naughton Hall, alongside the church, is now a 17thc. building. A second moated site is 0.3 miles SW of the church and there are farms outside the village. St Mary's has a nave, chancel and W tower. The flint W tower is two storeys high and has a blocked round-headed window on the S side in the lower storey. This may thus be 12thc, but the upper storey has Y-tracery bell-openings ofc.1300. There is an embattled parapet. The W window is a replacement in 15thc. style, and the tower arch is pointed with mouldings dying into the embrasures. Nave and chancel are mortar-rendered, and all their windows are stylistically ofc.1300 except for one late-13thc. plate-tracery window in the chancel S wall, one with a cusped head in the nave S wall, and a 15thc. window in the chancel S wall. The chancel arch is 14th-15thc. There is a 14thc. piscina with a cusped arch towards the E end of the nave on the S wall, indicating the presence of an altar. The chancel piscina is ofc.1300. The S nave doorway is protected by a rendered porch, while the 13thc. N doorway has been blocked and fitted with a window. Set in the window splay is a 12thc. font that has been cut down, and this is the only Romanesque sculpture here.


Naughton does not appear in the Domesday Survey.

Benefice of Bildeston with Wattisham and Lindsey, Whatfield with Semer, Nedging and Naughton.




Set in the niche formed by blocking the N nave doorway. The bowl is now octagonal but has been cut down from a square font with intersecting arcading in low relief on the faces. It has a roll-moulded upper rim, then two thin rolls above the arcaded band. This is best seen on the S face where the worn capitals of three shafts survive, supporting round-headed intersecting arches in the form of flat bands. The arcading is found on the E and W faces too but the N face, set against the wall, may have been cut back since the font is significantly narrower in this direction. Below the arcaded band the lower rim of the bowl has a deep chamfer, probably not original and cutting off the shafts of the arcading. The bowl is lined with lead and there is a deep chip missing from the upper rim on the SE face. The bowl stands on an octagonal moulded imposts, and this on an octagonal shaft and a double step.

External w of bowl (E-W) 0.78 m
External w of bowl (N-S) 0.73 m
h of bowl 0.26 m
Internal diameter of bowl 0.61 m


A font with intersecting and other forms of arcading is found at Great Bricett, nearby, but that is much more elaborate than Naughton's. Apart from the Purbeck and Sussex marble imports, which are common in Suffolk, arcaded square fonts are also found at Great Thurlow and Withersdale; neither very similar to this one.


  • H. M. Cautley, Suffolk Churches and their Treasures. London 1937, 298.
  • D. P. Mortlock, The Popular Guide to Suffolk Churches: 2 Central Suffolk. Cambridge 1990, 167.
  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Suffolk. Harmondsworth 1961, rev. E. Radcliffe 1975, 370.
Exterior from SE.
Exterior from NE.
Interior to E.
Interior to W.
W tower from S.
W tower, blocked S window.
Blocked N doorway, embrasure, re-set font.


Site Location
National Grid Reference
TM 023 489 
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: St Mary
medieval: not confirmed
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Ron Baxter