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St Martin, Trimley St Martin, Suffolk

(51°59′8″N, 1°18′52″E)
Trimley St Martin
TM 277 371
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Suffolk
now Suffolk
  • Ron Baxter

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Feature Sets

The Trimleys, St Martin and St Mary, are adjoining parishes on the NW outskirts of Felixstowe. Together they make an elongated settlement bounded on the E and S by the A14, and on the W by Trimley Marshes and the Orwell estuary. Plans for expansion to the W and between the two villages are driven by the need for extra housing for Felixstowe, but they are meeting vigorous local opposition. The churches of St Martin and St Mary stand at the edges of their parishes, side-by-side on the high street that runs through the centre of both villages. There was once a wall between the two churchyards, corresponding to the parish boundary, but this has gone now. Although both churches are still consecrated, St Martin's is maintained for liturgical use, while St Mary's is largely given over to community activities. St Martin's has a nave with a transeptal N chapel and a S porch, a chancel with a N vestry and a S organ room, and a W tower. The mortar-rendered nave appears to date from the early 14thc., to judge from the N and S doorways (the S now under a 20thc. brick and timber porch). The nave windows are 19thc. replacements in an early-14thc. style. The N transept is separated from the nave by a two-bay arcade. It is of brick with replacement windows in 15thc. style. The N gable has been rebuilt using modern brick. The chancel is also of brick and is entirely 19thc., including the vestry with its mortar-rendered N extension, and the rendered S organ room. The 15thc. tower is of brick, rendered on all faces except the E. It has a battlemented parapet and diagonal W buttresses, also of brick and unrendered. The only feature that may be Romanesque is the font.


The Domesday Survey reveals a complex pattern of landholding in the area, with many vills described as being in Trimley. Alteston, Candlet, Grimston, Lestaneston, Morston, Plumgeard and Thorpe are all separately recorded, but their names have declined in importance, being remembered only in the names of Halls (Grimston) or farms (Candlet). In Trimley itself, the most interesting entry records the two churches here. Godric, commended to Northmann, held Trimley with 50 acres as a manor before the Conquest. In 1086 the manor was held by Turold from Roger Bigod, and included two acres of meadow, a free man under Turold with four acres of ploughland, a church with 20 acres and a church with eight acres. Also in Trimley, three free men commended to Northmann and one commended to Wihtmaer held six acres before the Conquest; this land listed under the holdings of Roger Bigod in 1086. Finally, Leofric, commended to the abbot of Ely, held 40 acres as a manor. Roger Bigod held him from the king in 1086. The estate remained with the Bigods until the death of a later Roger in 1306, and in 1312 the Bigod estates passed to Edward II’s brother, Sir Thomas de Brotherton. Thomas is recorded building a church at Trimley shortly afterwards.

Benefice of Walton and Trimley.





The font bowl may be a completely plain 12thc. bowl that has been retooled and decorated in the 19thc. The supports and base may also be original, although Pevsner expresses some doubts.

H. M. Cautley, Suffolk Churches and their Treasures. London 1937, 327.
M. Berryman, R. Gitsham, A. Thomson, Glimpses of the Trimley Villages. Suffolk Federation of Workers' Educational Association Branches, 1991.
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, 467.