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St John the Baptist, Badingham, Suffolk

(52°15′55″N, 1°22′40″E)
TM 306 684
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Suffolk
now Suffolk
  • Ron Baxter

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Badingham is a village in E Suffolk, 3 miles N of Framlingham and 6 miles NW of Saxmundham. A stream runs from N to S through the village, joining the river Alde at the southern end of the High Street, and the lie of the land is determined by these two valleys. Immediately to the S is a Roman road, now the A1120. The church is towards the northern end on the village and stands on steeply rising land on the E bank of the stream. The ground rises from W to E here, and has not been terraced for the building of the church, so that the nave slopes markedly up towards the E, and the chancel is reached by three steps. The church consists of a nave with S porch, a chancel with a modern S vestry and a W tower. The lower storey of the flint and septaria tower is 12thc., with long and short quoins, no buttresses, simple lancets to the S and W and a tower arch with roll-moulded jambs but a remodelled, pointed arch. The upper storey has Y-tracery bell-openings ofc.1300 and an embattled parapet. The nave has the remains of 12thc. shafting at the western angles, but there are no bases or capitals and the shafts are not recorded here. It thus belongs to the 12thc., but has been considerably altered. The walls are of flint in their lower parts but have been raised considerably with brick. The N doorway is blocked and the S, ofc.1300, is protected by a knapped flint porch of 1486, lavishly decorated with flushwork and provided with a battlemented parapet and a niche for a statue. The nave windows include a 13thc. lancet on the N side and another on the S, along with 15thc. windows at the normal height. When the walls were raised, windows were added to light the rood at the E. These were bequeathed by Edward Rous in 1506. A high window was installed at the W end of the N wall in the 18thc., to light a choir gallery (now gone). The chancel is of knapped flint with 14thc. flowing lateral windows and a 15thc. E window. A priest's doorway is set in the S wall, and on the N side are two large tombs; one of a member of the Carbonell family, perhaps Sir John (d.1423), and the other of William Cotton (d.1616) and his wife Lucie (d.1621). The chancel was rebuilt by E. L.Blackburne (1879-80), and at the same time new roofs were added and the church was re-seated. Repairs were carried out under the supervision of J. R. Sullivan in 1976-77. In addition to the remains of Romanesque fabric described above the church also houses two carved voussoirs set in the porch and a loose scallop capital and chevron voussoir.


Eadric held Badingham before the Conquest, with nine carucates of ploughland, 20 acres of meadow and woodland for 100 pigs. There was a church there with 60 acres of land an an acre of meadow. In 1086 the manor was held by Robert Malet, generally in demesne, but Walter held 100 acres from him, Leornic 40 acres and Robert 40 acres. In addition there were 30 acres of demesne land of Badingham held by Robert from Robert Malet in Cransford. Land at Badingham and elsewhere was given by Sir Roger Boys and others to Campsea Ash priory of Austin nuns by 1390.

Upper Alde benefice, i.e. Badingham, Bruisyard, Cransford, Dennington, Rendham and Sweffling.


Interior Features


Tower/Transept arches

Interior Decoration


Loose Sculpture


Comments on the re-set voussoirs appear in section IV. 5. c. The only precise parallel for the specific sequence of rolls and quirks seen on the loose chevron voussoir so far noted in the county is on the doorway, also of clunch, at St Mary's, Walpole 5 miles NE of Badingham.

Victoria County History: Suffolk II (1975), 112-15.
Anon., St John the Baptist Church, Badingham. Undated church guide.
H. M. Cautley, Suffolk Churches and their Treasures. London 1937, 220.
D. P. Mortlock, The Popular Guide to Suffolk Churches: 3 E Suffolk. Cambridge 1992.
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Suffolk. Harmondsworth 1961, rev. E. Radcliffe 1975, 80-81.