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New St Mary, Braiseworth, Suffolk

(52°18′6″N, 1°7′42″E)
TM 134 717
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Suffolk
now Suffolk
  • Ron Baxter
14 March 2006

Please use this link to cite this page - https://www.crsbi.ac.uk/view-item?i=14139.

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Feature Sets

Braiseworth is in rolling arable farmland in N central Suffolk, 1½ miles S of Eye. It lies to the E of the Roman road from Ipswich to Diss, now the A140, but there is now no village centre, only the old and new churches (both now redundant), an orchard, Priory farm and a few widely dispersed houses on the lanes round about. Taking Priory farm as the centre, the land falls to the E to the valley of the river Dove, a stream that flows NE to join the river Waveney near Hoxne on the Norfolk border.

New St Mary's was built in 1857 by E. B. Lamb. The medieval church, half a mile to the SE, was partly demolished at the same time (see Braiseworth, Old St Mary), and Lamb used its 12thc. nave doorways for the S doorway and the porch entrance of his new building. New St Mary's is a flint building with ashlar dressings in a neo-Romanesque style, consisting of a nave with a bell-cote on the W gable and a S porch, and a chancel with an apsidal E end. It is now a private house and is not accessible to visitors. The author and the CRSBI would like to express their gratitude to the owners for generously allowing access to record the 12thc. sculpture.


Wulfgifu held Braiseworth as a manor before the Conquest, with 60 acres of ploughland, 4 acres of meadow a mill and half a church with 17 acres of land. The other half of the church, with 15 acres, was part of a 140 acre parcel held by 15 free men that also included another acre of meadow. Other pre-Conquest holdings were 5 acres held by eight free men; 3 acres held by one free man; 20 acres held by Beorhtmaer Bubba, a free man of Harold and 38 acres held by four free men commended to Eadric. A second manor was held by Aethelstan, a free man commended to Wulfgifu. This comprised 30 acres and an acre of meadow. All of these holdings were held by Robert Malet in 1086.

The church was formerly dedicated to St Mary.


Exterior Features



This is one of the most elaborately carved Romanesque doorways in Suffolk, and while parallels can be found for its motifs they are dispersed all over the county. None of the comparisons for the unusual motif of cusping over an angle roll is as elaborate as this. At Risby and Sapiston, and on a loose stone at Hepworth cusping is carved on one side of the roll only, with simple moulded decoration rather than the foliate motifs seen here. Hepworth is the closest of these; some ten miles to the west. Wissington, on the Essex border 25 miles to the south may also be related. Another distinctive feature is the radial billet on the porch doorway. This also appears at Redisham and Mettisham, some 17 miles away to the NE.


H. M. Cautley, Suffolk Churches and their Treasures. London 1937, 230.

N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Suffolk. Harmondsworth 1961, rev. E. Radcliffe 1975, 109.