We use cookies to improve your experience, some are essential for the operation of this site.

St Peter, Theberton, Suffolk

(52°14′14″N, 1°34′4″E)
TM 437 659
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Suffolk
now Suffolk
  • Ron Baxter

Please use this link to cite this page - https://www.crsbi.ac.uk/view-item?i=11266.

Find out how to cite the CRSBI website here.

Feature Sets

Theberton is a small village in east Suffolk, 3 miles E of Saxmundham and 2½ from the sea. It stands on a rise in the low country SW of the marshy Minsmere Level, with the church in the centre of the village and Theberton Hall 0.3 mile away to the NW. St Peter's consists of a nave and chancel in one with a thatched single roof, a S aisle and S porch at the W end of the nave, a modern brick vestry covering the N doorway, also at the W end of the nave, and a round W tower. The 12thc. church consisted of the present nave without its aisle and the western section of the chancel. A corbel table survives from this, occupying the western part of the chancel on both sides, and there is a 12thc. string course on the N side of the chancel only. The N nave doorway survives inside the modern vestry, and there is a 12thc. window, now blocked, in the N wall of the nave. The round tower is 12thc. too, although the octagonal upper story was addedc.1300. It has Y-tracery bell openings on its cardinal faces, and similar Y-tracery flushwork on the intermediate faces. The tower arch was replaced around the same time. The 15thc. embattled parapet also has flushwork decoration. A W window was inserted in the tower in the 15thc. The chancel may have been lengthenedc.1300, using a mixed facing of flints and reused material, including shaft sections and broken plain corbels. The S priest's doorway dates from this time, as does the Y-tracery N window inserted in the western section of the chancel. Its companion on the S side is 15thc., and those in the eastern section are 16thc. with brick mullions and arches. The E wall has been rebuilt in a curious mixture of flint, stone rubble and brick, more or less decoratively arranged. It contains a three-light 19thc. window in a Perpendicular style. Returning to the nave, a short S aisle with a porch at its W end was added in the 15thc. but the aisle was rebuilt by L. N. Cottingham under the patronage of the Rev. C. M. Doughty of Theberton Hall in 1846. This aisle is now called the Doughty Chapel, and its arcade is painted. Romanesque sculpture is found on the N doorway, the blocked N window, the chancel corbel table and the string course below it.


Before the Conquest, a free man, Swart Hoga, held Theberton from Ulf, with 60 acres and two acres of meadow as a manor. In 1086 it was held by Hubert from Robert Malet. The church of Theberton was alienated to the Premonstratensian abbey of Leiston in 1380.

Benefice of Middleton cum Fordley and Theberton with Eastbridge.


Exterior Features



Exterior Decoration

String courses
Corbel tables, corbels

The distinctive sinuous treatment of the chevron ornament on the N doorway is typical of chevron carved in clunch in Suffolk. Similar nebuly corbel tables have not been noted in Suffolk, although examples survive at Fletton and Little Stukeley (both Cambs).

Victoria County History: Suffolk II (1975), 117-19.
Anon., St Peters Theberton Suffolk. Church guide 1987.
H. M. Cautley, Suffolk Churches and their Treasures. London 1937, 325.
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, 460-61.
D. Stanford, Suffolk Churches. London 2005, 96-97.