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St Mary, Gosbeck, Suffolk

(52°9′27″N, 1°8′35″E)
TM 151 557
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Suffolk
now Suffolk
  • Ron Baxter

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Feature Sets

Gosbeck is a dispersed parish lying some 7 miles N of the centre of Ipswich. The landscape is typical of the East Anglian plain; more or less flat and given over to arable cultivation. The parish is crossed by two streams that converge in the S and eventually run into the river Gipping NW of Ipswich, and their valleys lend some variation to the landscape. To the W is Gosbeck wood, an ancient wood covering approximately 25 hectares. The church is 0.6 mile west of the village centre, with the wood to its W and Church Farm to the N. The hall is at the NE end of the village, but the presence of Newton Hall at the SW end and a moated site 0.3 mile NW of the church may reflect the existence of several manors here until the 1820s.

The church is of knapped flint and comprises nave, chancel with north vestry and a tower built at the W end of the S nave wall and serving as a porch. The nave has a 12thc. N doorway and a plain 12thc. N window. Further evidence of the 12thc. origin of the nave is provided by the long and short quoins at its eastern angles. The S doorway is 14thc. and the other nave windows are 15thc. except for the W window, which has reticulated tracery (c.1320). A screen has been erected in line with the E wall of the tower, dividing the seated area from a W baptistery. There is no chancel arch and the chancel may be of c.1280-1300 to judge from the geometrical tracery of the E window, but that is a replacement dating (according to Mortlock) to the restoration of 1883. The S windows are single-light and headed with cusping. The entire chancel was rebuilt in 1848, including the vestry, which has a battlemented parapet. The tower is 14thc. with diagonal buttresses and a battlemented parapet with flushwork, pinnacles and gargoyles below it. There was a major restoration in 1848 and in 1883-84 the church was reseated and repaired by H. J. Green of Norwich. The 12thc. N doorway is described below.


Gosbeck does not appear in the Domesday Survey, but it seems likely that there were several manors here from an early date. Richard de Gosbeck was lord of the manor at the start of the 14thc., and upon his death in 1311 it passed to his son Ralph de Gosbeck. On the death of Ralph de Gosbeck the manor went to John Lampet, of Thorndon, who was married to Ralph's daughter and heir, Beatrice, and thence to Ellen their daughter, who was married to Sir William Jermy. John Jermy, son and heir of Sir William Jermy, held the manor, and had a grant of free warren here in 1343. It stayed in the same family at least until the 15thc., but was apparently granted by the crown to Gilbert Debenham, who died seised of it in 1481, when it passed to his son and heir, Sir Gilbert Debenham, Knt. By 1527 it was back with the Jermys, when it was included in a fine levied by Robert Norwich, serjeant at law, and others against John Jermy and others. In this is included the advowson of Gosbeck Church. A little later the manor had passed to Thomas Bedingfield, who died seised of it 15 March 1538, and was succeeded by his brother and heir, Robert Bedingfield. He was succeeded by Sir Edmund Bedingfield, who sold the manor in 1584 to William Style.

Benefice of Coddenham with Gosbeck and Hemingstone with Henley.


Exterior Features



Pevsner, Cautley and Mortlock suggest that the nave may be pre-Conquest on the basis of the E quoins. For Cautley the simple N doorway and window might also be Anglo-Saxon.

H. M. Cautley, Suffolk Churches and their Treasures. London 1937, 265.
D. P. Mortlock, The Popular Guide to Suffolk Churches: 2 Central Suffolk. Cambridge 1990, 92-93.
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Suffolk. Harmondsworth 1961, rev. E. Radcliffe 1975, 232.