We use cookies to improve your experience, some are essential for the operation of this site.

St Edmund, Bromeswell, Suffolk

(52°6′23″N, 1°21′41″E)
TM 303 507
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Suffolk
now Suffolk
  • Ron Baxter

Please use this link to cite this page - https://www.crsbi.ac.uk/view-item?i=3072.

Find out how to cite the CRSBI website here.

Feature Sets

Bromeswell is a village in SE Suffolk. The nearest town is Woodbridge, two miles to the W on the other side of the river Deben, which could be forded near the present Wilford bridge. Bromeswell lies on relatively high and fertile ground surrounded by low-lying heathland (to the S) and marshland (to the W). The early Anglo-Saxon site of Sutton Hoo is a mile to the SW, alongside the Deben.

The church is near the centre of the village and comprises a nave with a S porch, a chancel with a N vestry and a W tower. The nave is of flint, mortar rendered, and has a 12thc. S doorways under an early-16thc. brick porch and a 13thc. N doorway, now blocked. One N window is 12thc. too, this is blocked but the splayed opening is visible inside the church, where it frames a war memorial. 15thc. lateral windows have been added at the E end of the nave, probably around the same time as the hammerbeam roof. This has angels bearing shields attached to the ends of the hammerbeams, some of which were lost in the 17thc. Three new angels were carved and added in the 1920s, and the angel choir was completed after 1968 when the then rector conceived the idea of making plastic replicas. The chancel was rebuilt in red brick with 13thc. detailing in 1854. It is lower and narrower than the nave, but its walls are much thinner, so the discrepancy in width is hardly noticeable inside the church. There is no chancel arch. The red brick N vestry was added in 1984. The W tower is 15thc., of knapped flint with flushwork decoration on the diagonal buttresses and embattled parapet. Romanesque sculpture is found on the S doorway.


The Domesday Survey lists the major overlords here as Robert Malet and Ely abbey. Although some of the holdings are substantial ones, none is described as a manor. Robert Malet's holdings consisted of 4½ acres formerly held by 3 free men in Turstanestuna (translated as 'township' in the Bromeswell short history) in Bromeswell commended to Eadric; 8 acres held by Walter de Caen from Robert, formerly held by 1 free man and a half commended to Godwine; 26 acres of land and 1½ acres of meadow formerly held by 4 free men and a half commended to Eadric, and held in 1086 by Gilbert de Coleville from Robert Malet; 60 acres and 4 acres of meadow held by 16 free men commended to Eadric before the Conquest, and held in 1086 by Hubert de Mont-Canisy from Robert Malet; another 44 acres of land and 6 acres of meadow in the demesne of Staverton held in 1086 by Hubert de Mont-Canisy from Robert Malet; yet another parcel of 16 acres and a church with 6 acres held in 1086 by Hubert de Mont-Canisy from Robert Malet and formerly by 1 free man commended to Eadric. The Ely holdings comprised: 8 acres, held from Ely by Robert Malet and formerly by 1 free man and a half commended to Ely; 10 acres and a church with 16 acres in the abbot’s demesne, held by 2 free men; 2 carucates and 16 acres of land and 3 acres of meadow held from the abbey by Hervey and from him by 70 free men; 76 acres of land and 4 acres of meadow held by 4 free men commended to the abbot; 22 acres of land and 1½ acres of meadow held from Hervey by 2 free men commended to Ely; and 4 acres held by 2 free men of Robert Maley, commended to the abbey. Holdings of 4 acres formerly held by 1 free man and a half commended to Eadric Grim, and 2 acres formerly held by 1 free man commended to Wulfric were held by Count Alan in 1086. Two churches are listed; one held by Hubert de Mont-Canisy from Robert Malet and the other by the Abbot of Ely. The author of the Bromeswell short history suggests that one of these might have been Eyke church (not mentioned in the Domesday Survey). Malet was disgraced in 1101, having foolishly supported Robert, Duke of Normandy's claim to the throne of Henry I, and his lands passed to Hubert de Mont Canisy (otherwise known as de Monte Caniso, or Munchesi). William de Caniso held the lordship in 1272. In 1302 Roger Bigod surrendered his estates here and died in 1306 without issue. Nevertheless his wife Alice had the use of them until her deathc.1317. In 1312 they formed part of the estate of Thomas de Brotherton when he was granted the title of Earl of Norfolk.

Wilford Peninsula benefice, i.e. Alderton, Bawdsey, Boyton, Bromeswell, Butley, Chillesford, Eyke, Hollesley, Iken, Orford, Ramsholt, Rendlesham, Shottisham, Sudbourne, Sutton, Tunstall and Wantisden.


Exterior Features



The workshop responsible for the S doorway has a distinctive method of carving this kind of chevron voussoirs, technically called centripetal carving, i.e. with the points on each voussoir towards the thin, inner end. Normally this kind of multi-row chevron is carved with the points outwards (centrifugally) as, for example, at St Mary's, Horham. No other instances of this have yet been noted in Suffolk.

Anon, Bromeswell. A short history. 1980, reprinted 1993.
H. M. Cautley, Suffolk Churches and their Treasures. London 1937, 235.
D. P. Mortlock, The Popular Guide to Suffolk Churches: 3 East Suffolk. Cambridge 1992.
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Suffolk. Harmondsworth 1961, rev. E. Radcliffe 1975, 118.