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St Mary, Creeting St Mary, Suffolk

(52°10′7″N, 1°3′38″E)
Creeting St Mary
TM 094 567
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Suffolk
now Suffolk
  • Ron Baxter

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Feature Sets

The Creetings are a pair of villages standing in rolling land of mixed cultivation two to three miles E of Stowmarket. There were once four churches; St Mary's, St Olave's, St Peter's and All Saints'. The first two were originally small but discrete alien Benedictine priories, but St Olave's (originally a cell of Grestein) had gone by the 17thc. (although its site has been excavated recently). All Saints' parish church was alongside St Mary's, but was blown down by a storm in 1801 and its parishioners accommodated by the addition of a N transept to St Mary's, using some of the old fabric. St Mary's is a flint church of nave, chancel and W tower. The N transept added in 1802 was enlarged to form a three-bay N aisle in 1885. There is a N doorway without a porch and a 12thc. S doorway under a 15thc. porch liberally adorned with flushwork. The chancel is the same width as the nave, with which it shares a roof, and has no chancel arch. It was 13thc. originally but was largely rebuilt in 1885. To the N is an organ room and vestry. The W tower is 14thc. in its lower stage, with a flowing W window and the arms of the Uffords, Earls of Suffolk, above it. It originally had a spire but this had collapsed by 1801 and was replaced with a pyramid roof. The present bell stage and parapet, embattled and decorated with flushwork, date from 1885.and brick diagonal buttresses have been added at the W. To the N of the church stands a single-storey parish room dating from the early 19thc. and once used as a school. The S nave doorway, heavily restored, is the only Romanesque feature.


In 1086 a church with 12 acres was recorded in the holdings of Bernay Abbey, held from the abbot by 24 free men. In 1156 Henry confirmed the holdings of Bernay in England, including Creeting Priory and the manor. The taxation of 1291 records that the prior of Creeting held lands here and at Newton, Stonham Aspal (both Suffolk) and at Everdon (Nants). In 1378, during the Hundred Years' War, the priory's lands were placed in the wardship of John de Staverton, and in 1462 Edward IV granted the holdings of the suppressed priory to Eton College as part of its foundation endowment.

Benefice of Creeting St Mary, Creeting St Peter and Earl Stonham with Stonham Parva.


Exterior Features



The simple doorway probably dates from the first half of the 12thc.

H. M. Cautley, Suffolk Churches and their Treasures. London 1937.
D. P. Mortlock, The Popular Guide to Suffolk Churches: 2 Central Suffolk. Cambridge 1990, 59-60.
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Suffolk. Harmondsworth 1961, rev. E. Radcliffe 1975, 179.