St Peter, Ubbeston, Suffolk

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Feature Sets (2)


Ubbeston is in central E Suffolk, towards the N of the county, 5 miles SW of Halesworth, in the arable boulder-clay plateau typical of High Suffolk. The church and hall site that are all that remain of the village are sited on the rising N bank of a stream that flows eastwards to join the river Blyth at Halesworth. There is a slightly larger settlement at Ubbeston Green, 0.4 miles to the S.

The church consists of a nave with a S porch, chancel with a N vestry and a W tower. The flint nave and chancel are equally tall. The nave is 12thc., with round-headed N and S doorways; the N now blocked and visible only inside, and the S protected by a 15thc. brick porch with a battlemented parapet. Above each of these lateral doorways can be seen traces of large, blocked 12thc. windows. Three 15thc. windows have been inserted in the nave walls, two on the N and one on the S, the western N window having brick tracery. What appears to be a N buttress between the nave windows is in fact a modern chimney. An obscene relief set high on this is probably not medieval. The arch braced roof covers both nave and chancel with no chancel arch. The roof is also 15thc., much renewed. One of the chancel windows, on the S, is of brick and later than the other 15thc. windows. The priest's doorway could be ofc.1300. The modern lean-to vestry is brick. The west tower is 15thc., of brick. The diocese disposed of the church in the 1970s, and it is now a private residence and business premises, not normally accessible to visitors. The author and the CRSBI would like to express their gratitude to the owners for generously allowing access to record the 12thc. sculpture. The only Romanesque sculpture is on the S doorway.


Thorth held Ubbeston in Edward the Confessor's reign as a manor with three carucates of land, seven acres of meadow and woodland for 160 pigs. There was a church with three acres of land. In 1086 the manor was held by Ralph Baynard.

Former parish church, now a private house and business premises.


Exterior Features


Nave S doorway

Round headed, two orders.

h. of opening 2.08 m
w. of opening 0.97 m
First order

Plain jambs and arch with a slight chamfer, separated by quirked hollow-chamfered imposts.

Second order

Nook-shafts without bases; the W shaft unusually replaced in sections of shaped red brick. The capitals are similar to waterleaf, but with fleshy rounded leaves on the angles, not curled in at the tips but linked across the faces. The neckings are plain rolls and the imposts as the first order. The arch has an angle roll and a single row of lateral centripetal chevron on the face, of roll profile with an inner step and recessed triangular fields inside the moulding. There is no label.


The structure of the doorway and the capitals, but not the imposts or the arch decoration, is matched at nearby Cookley. Similar capitals are also seen on the S transept chapel arch and a loose stone at St Bartholomew's, Orford.


  • H. M. Cautley, Suffolk Churches and their Treasures. London 1937, 328.

  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Suffolk. Harmondsworth 1961, rev. E. Radcliffe 1975, 470.

Exterior from NW.
Exterior from NE.
Exterior from SE.
Nave from SW.
Interior, nave roof to E.
Nave from NW.


Site Location
National Grid Reference
TM 323 726 
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 Peter
medieval: St Peter (pre-Reformation)
Type of building/monument
Private house, formerly parish church  
Report authors
Ron Baxter 
Visit Date
14 March 2006