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St Andrew, Mutford, Suffolk

(52°26′19″N, 1°39′22″E)
TM 486 886
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Suffolk
now Suffolk
  • Ron Baxter

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Mutford is in NE Suffolk, set in low, rolling arable and pasture land 5 miles SW of the centre of Lowestoft. The village consists of houses and farms built alongside a network of narrow lanes with no particular focal point. The church is towards the N of the settlement, with Mutford Hall three-quarters of a mile to the SW, outside the village and alongside the stream called the Hundred River. St Andrew's stands on rising ground, and consists of a nave with a S aisle and S porch, a chancel and a round W tower with a W Galilee porch. The nave is of flint and where a N doorway might be expected, a 15thc. window has been inserted, one of two on this side. A wallpainting of At Christopher survives on the N wall; once part of a more extensive cycle. The early-14thc. S aisle has a four-bay arcade on slender, octagonal piers and windows characteristic of that date. The S doorway is also 14thc., under a 19thc. flint and ashlar porch. The aisle was originally connected to a chapel on the S side of the chancel, but this was removed in the 18thc, and the E aisle wall was rebuilt in brick. The arch from the chancel was similarly bricked up. Another blocked arch on the N side of the chancel indicates that there was once a chapel there too. The chancel itself is 14thc., of flint, rendered on the N side. Its E window has flowing tracery, and there are diagonal E buttresses with flushwork decoration, and flushwork arcading on the E chancel plinth. The W tower is tall and slender; round at the bottom with a 15thc. octagonal upper storey. Its bell-openings have lost their tracery, but flushwork pseudo-tracery on the alternating faces give an idea of their form. There is a battlemented parapet, also decorated with flushwork. The lower storey may be pre-Conquest. It contains two blocked, round-headed openings on the N face and two on the S, while on the W are two pointed lancets that may replace earlier openings. In the blocking of the lower S window is a chevron voussoir. To the W is the Galilee; 14thc. in its present form and said to be the only one in the country attached to a round tower. Built into the N interior nave wall towards the E end is a tomb recess with a chevron-decorated arch. The arch is certainly not original to the tomb. Pevsner offers two suggestions; that it was part of the 12thc. chancel arch, or that it was the arch from the tower to the W Galilee, which Suckling described as Norman in 1846. This postulates a lost Norman Galilee, of course, a tantalising idea. In 1927-36 general repairs to roofs, walls, seating and porch were carried out by W. Weir of Letchworth. The ceiling of the church was raised in 1926 and completely removed in 1974, exposing the roof beams, which were then restored. The Galilee was ruinous and ivy-covered in 1933 and was restored in the following year. The interior of the tower was restored in 1976, and the aisle roof leaded and its beams strengthened in 2004.


Before the Conquest Wulfsige held Mutford from Earl Gyrth as a manor, with 3½ carucates of ploughland, 6 acres of meadow and woodland for 60 pigs. Also before the Conquest, twelve free men commended to Gyrth held three carucates of ploughland with eight acres of meadow, woodland for 16 pigs and two churches with 43 acres. A further 12 free men lived in Mutford with 2 carucates of land in 1086. These holdings were recorded as the king’s possessions in 1086. According to the church guide, the founder of the church was Balderic de Bosco or his daughter Hildeburga, but the present author cannot verify this. One Baldwin de Bosco, bornc.1140) had a daughter called Hildeburga who married Sir Henry de Vere, but the family was from Addington, Northants.

Benefice of Carlton Colville and Mutford.


Exterior Features

Exterior Decoration





Chevron of exactly this profile has not yet been seen elsewhere in the county.

Anon., Some notes about the church [Mutford, St Andrew]. undated post 2004.
H. M. Cautley, Suffolk Churches and their Treasures. London 1937, 297-98.
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, 369.