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St Peter, Milden, Suffolk

(52°4′59″N, 0°51′22″E)
TL 958 466
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Suffolk
now Suffolk
  • Ron Baxter

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Milden is situated in arable farmland on the rising ground on the S side of the Lavenham Brook, a tributary of the river Brett, some 5 miles NE of Sudbury towards the S of mid-Suffolk. In the field immediately to the S of the church, once glebe land, a stone marks the second highest point in the county (82 m, 269 ft) It is a dispersed settlement, sparsely populated, extending approximately 1¼ miles from Milden Hall in the W, with the motte of a 12thc. castle nearby, to the church in the E.

St Peter's is a two-cell flint church with a very wide nave and a chancel almost as wide. The nave has a 12thc. S doorway under a 19thc. porch, and a plain 12thc. lancet. The other nave windows are apparently 15thc. but have lost their tracery. The N doorway is later medieval too, and its porch has been converted for vestry use. There was a W tower, damaged in a storm in 1827, and taken down in 1840. The W wall and its single bell-cote were built using the salvaged stones. The chancel is 13thc., to judge from the plain lancet piscina, but there must have been a rebuildingc.1300, when Y-tracery windows were added. The triple lancet E window is not original, and belongs either to the 1840 rebuilding, or to a restoration of 1866. Romanesque features described here are the S doorway and a badly damaged plain font.


Milden was held as a manor with two carucates of land by Leofwine of Bacton, a thegn of Edward the Confessor. In 1086 it was held in demesne by Walter the Deacon, and belonged to the fief of his brother Theodoric. In addition to the ploughland there were 6 acres of meadow, woodland for six pigs, a mill and a church with 15 acres of free land. Another 15 acres of land were held by a free man from St Edmundsbury abbey. In 1480 the manor of Milden passed to Sir Ralph Shelton and it remained in the family until some time after 1558 when Sir Ralph's great-grandson, also Ralph, sold it to Robert Thorpe.

Benefice of Monks Eleigh with Chelsworth and Brent Eleigh with Milden and Kettlebaston.


Exterior Features





The chevron profile of the doorway is not unusual, occurring locally on the W doorway at Polstead church, for example. This simpler treatment could be considerably earlier, perhaps dating from the 1130s or '40s.

B. J. Barlow, The Church of St Peter Milden. Church guide 1974, revised 2004.
H. M. Cautley, Suffolk Churches and their Treasures. London 1937, 293.
D. P. Mortlock, The Popular Guide to Suffolk Churches: 2 Central Suffolk. Cambridge 1990, 164-65
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Suffolk. Harmondsworth 1961, rev. E. Radcliffe 1975, 363.