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St Mary, Hinderclay, Suffolk

(52°21′6″N, 0°58′29″E)
TM 027 768
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Suffolk
now Suffolk
  • Ron Baxter

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Feature Sets

Hinderclay is a village in N central Suffolk, 6 miles W of Diss. It stands in rolling arable land and consists of a cluster of houses around a crossroads with the church off the southern arm and the hall just 180 m to the S of it. Nearby, on the edge of Hinderclay wood, were found the remains of an early Iron Age settlement, and there were Roman pottery kilns in the wood too.

St Mary's is a flint church of nave, chancel and W tower. The nave has a N doorway, now blocked, which dates from the late-12thc. or (more probably) the early-13thc. The N windows were replaced in the 15thc., and on the S of the nave an aisle was added in the 13thc., with a four-bay arcade. The plain S doorway is also 13thc., under a timber-framed porch that may be contemporary but has been heavily restored. The 15thc. S aisle windows were filled with colourful glass by Rosemary Rutherford, mainly in the 1980s, provoking mixed reactions from the parishioners. The W gable of the aisle has been rebuilt in brick. The chancel dates from the early 14thc.; the windows and piscina being of this period. The W tower is 15thc. with diagonal buttresses, flushwork on the plinth and a 15thc. W window. The bell-openings are Perpendicular too, and transomed but the lower panels are filled with flushwork rather than glass. The embattled parapet has flushwork arcading and monograms of the Virgin. Only the N doorway is recorded here.


Hinderclay was held as a manor by the abbey of St Edmundsbury, both before the Conquest and in 1086. It had 4 carucates of ploughland, 8 acres of meadow with cattle and sheep, and woodland for 60 pigs. There was a church with an acre of free land in alms.

Benefice of Hepworth with Hinderclay, Wattisfield and Thelnetham.


Exterior Features



The deep chamfers of the doorway, the quadrant hollows of the chamfered imposts and the suggestion of a pointed arch head all indicate a date after rather than before 1200. Pevsner, however, refers to a 'simple C12 N doorway.'

H. M. Cautley, Suffolk Churches and their Treasures. London 1937.
D. P. Mortlock, The Popular Guide to Suffolk Churches: 1 West Suffolk. Cambridge 1988, 108-09.
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Suffolk. Harmondsworth 1961, rev. E. Radcliffe 1975, 272.
J.M. Blatchly and D. Sherwood, Rickinghall Inferior, Botesdale, Hepworth, Hinderclay and Thelnetham. Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and Natural History, 1995.