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All Saints, Ashbocking, Suffolk

(52°8′46″N, 1°10′12″E)
TM 170 545
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Suffolk
now Suffolk
  • Ron Baxter

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Feature Sets

The centre of the present village of Ashbocking lies along the B1077 Ipswich to Debenham road, immediately to the N of its crossroads with the B1078 Wickham Market to Needham Market road and the some 6.5 miles N of the centre of Ipswich. The B1078 follows the line of a Roman road here. An older centre, consisting of the church with Ashbocking Hall alongside it and a few dwellings lies a mile to the W. The landscape here is the typical arable farmland of the East Anglian plain, its flatness tempered by the valley of a stream that runs westwards just S of the church to join the river Gipping near Needham Market.

All Saints' church comprises a 14thc. nave, 13thc. chancel and early-16thc. W tower. The 14thc nave is tall and broad with a plain hammerbeam roof and an ogee-headed wall-tomb with crocketed pinnacles, all encrusted with foliage. The S doorway is 14thc. under an attractive 16thc. red brick porch with lattice patterning in blue brick. It has a crow-stepped gable and its side windows probably date from E. C. Hakewill's restoration of 1872. The N doorway is blocked. The nave windows are flowing, with mouchettes and the buttresses decorated with flushwork panels. The exterior is mortar rendered. The chancel and its arch are mid-13thc. The lateral chancel windows have plate tracery and the three-light east window the simplest geometric form. The piscina is likewise plain and trefoil headed. The exterior is mortar rendered, except for the E wall, which has been rebuilt in red brick, and brick buttresses have been added on the S wall and diagonally at the eastern angles. The 16thc. tower is of red brick with diagonal buttresses, a polygonal south stair and a plain parapet decorated with blue brick latticework, like the porch. The tower arch is tall with a four-centred arch, embattled capitals and bases on tall plinths. Mortlock suggests that the tower was built to the order of Edmund Bockinge. The font is described here, since Pevsner and Mortlock both assert that it is Norman.


The king held a manor of 93 acres and 20 acres of pasture as a manor, formerly held by Almaer. This was recorded in 1086 among the lands of Earl Ralph which Godric the steward has custody of in the king's hand. There was also half a church with 16 acres, and another church with three acres. A second manor of 60 acres was held before the Conquest by Erik, a free man, and after it by Richard fitzGilbert. Eadric held a third manor, of 40 acres. To this were added eight free men with 35 acres and a sokemen with 12 acres by Fin after the Conquest. It was held after the Conquest by Osbern de Wanchy, and claimed for Fin's fief by Richard fitzGilbert. Smaller holdings were one of four acres held by Alwine, a free man, before the Conquest and listed in the lands of Humphrey the Chamberlain in 1086; an acre held by a free woman, Leohtgifu; half an acre, held by a free man, both from Ely Abbey.

Benefice of Clopton with Otley, Swilland and Ashbocking.





The font described here in 1824 was of brick, plastered over. The present bowl was discovered in 1842, restored and mounted on the present shaft, newly made for the purpose. Although both Pevsner and Mortlock appear to have no reservations about it, the present author takes the view that its form and the absence of any marks on the rim to indicate that it once had a locking cover cast grave doubts on its original status as a font. It looks like a mortar, and is unlikely to be Romanesque, or even medieval. Such objects are regularly identified as fonts: another example may be seen at St Mary's, Wappenham (Northants).

H. M. Cautley, Suffolk Churches and their Treasures. London 1937, 61, 219.
D. P. Mortlock, The Popular Guide to Suffolk Churches: 2 Central Suffolk. Cambridge 1990, 3-4.
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Suffolk. Harmondsworth 1961, rev. E. Radcliffe 1975, 76-77.