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St Martin, Tuddenham St Martin, Suffolk

(52°5′29″N, 1°11′54″E)
Tuddenham St Martin
TM 192 485
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Suffolk
now Suffolk
  • Ron Baxter

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Feature Sets

Tuddenham St Martin is 3 miles NE of the centre of Ipswich (and only a mile from its outskirts), but the village occupies a spectacular site straddling the steeply sloping banks of the river Fynn. Its main street runs from E to W, falling to the bridge over the river and rising through the trees towards Tuddenham Hall on the other side. The houses and church are on the W bank; the church on a hill above the village on the S side of the High Street.

St Martin's has a 15thc. W tower of knapped flint with diagonal buttresses decorated with flushwork, a polygonal S stair turret and a battlemented parapet, again with flushwork decoration. Bequests for its construction occur between 1452 and 1460. The nave and chancel are mortar rendered. The nave has a 12thc. N doorway and a 15thc. S doorway with a timber-framed porch by John Corder, designer of the bizarre belfry at Swilland. The porch entrance has been blocked to provide a vestry. The nave windows are 15thc., the tower arch tall and contemporary with the tower, and the chancel arch broad and probably 14thc., like the angle piscina. In the chancel, the square-headed S window, and the geometrical E window both date from 1861. There is a N vestry of 1920, also by Corder. The chancel screen and altar were designed by Cautley in 1947. The church was extensively restored by Henry Ringham of Ipswich in 1844-45. Romanesque sculpture is found on the N doorway, probably always grander than the S since it faces the village street.


The Domesday Survey recorded three manors here and various other holdings. The largest of the manors was held before the Conquest by Cnut, a free man commended to Algar, and consisted of 3 carucates of ploughland and 3 acres of meadow with a church with 30 acres of land. This manor was held by Eudo the Steward in 1086. Secondly, before the Conquest Leohtwine, a free man of Halfdan, held 30 acres and 3 acres of meadow, and Godhere, a free man of Ely abbey held 68 acres as a manor with 4 acres of meadow, and 12 more free men of Ely abbey held 50 acres and 4 acres of meadow, all held by Roger de Poitou in 1086, perhaps as a manor. Third, in 1086 Aelfric the Deacon held a manor of 12 acres and 2 acres of meadow from Gerald, who held it from Roger de Rames. Gerald also held (from Roger) held 10 acres previously held by two free men, one commended to Ely abbey and the other to Harold. Then there were two substantial parcels, not specifically described as manors. Before the Conquest Leofric , a free man of Earl Aelfgar, held 1½ carucates of ploughland and 1½ acres of meadow, held in 1086 by Frodo, the abbot of Bury’s brother. Next, Count Richard fitzGilbert held 1½ carucates and 1½ acres of meadow here in 1086. Finally the Domesday Survey records four smaller holdings in 1086. One free man of Ralph the Staller held 4 acres before the Conquest, held by Count Alan in 1086; one free man commended to Eadric held 12 acres and a half acre of meadow, held in 1086 by Robert Malet along with a church with 15 acres; in 1086 Ely abbey held 4 acres, held before the Conquest by Aelfric, a free man commended to a person commended to Ely abbey; and 4 acres in Tuddenham were held in Hervey de Bourges’ demesne of Great Bealing, and a further 6 acres previously held by Ealdgyth, a free woman commended to Eadric of Laxfield were also held by Hervey in 1086. This rather complex pattern of landholding at least suggests that there were two churches here in 1086; one on Eudo the Steward’s manor and the other on land held by Robert Malet.

Benefice of Westerfield and Tuddenham St Martin with Witnesham.


Exterior Features



The same chevron profile occurs on the reworked S doorway of St Peter's, Henley, nearby.

H. M. Cautley, Suffolk Churches and their Treasures. London 1937, 328.
D. P. Mortlock, The Popular Guide to Suffolk Churches: 2 Central Suffolk. Cambridge 1990, 219-21.
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Suffolk. Harmondsworth 1961, rev. E. Radcliffe 1975, 468-69.