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Old St Mary, Braiseworth, Suffolk

(52°17′53″N, 1°8′2″E)
TM 138 713
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=3408.

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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. The medieval church of St Mary, Braiseworth was partly demolished in 1857 for the building of a new church by E. B. Lamb half a mile to the NW, alongside the road. Lamb used the nave used doorways of the old church in the building of the new one (see Braiseworth, New St Mary). The remains of the old church stand in Priory farm now, close to the farmhouse and other buildings. The old graveyard remained in use long after 1857, but now serves as grazing land for sheep. All that remains of the church is the chancel; the nave has been demolished and the W end closed off with a brick wall with a large doorway for entry and brick and flint buttresses for stability. The chancel is of flint with mortar render and is diagonally buttressed at the E end. There is a plain 12thc. lancet and a small 14thc. lancet with an ogee head in the N wall, and a 15thc. two-light window and a 13thc. priest’s doorway in the S. At the E is a two-light Y-tracery window ofc.1300. When Cautley visited before 1937 some of the fittings were still in-situ. The church stands on private farmland and is not accessible without permission. The author and the CRSBI would like to thank the owner for allowing access to the site. There is no Romanesque sculpture here now.


Wulfgifu held Braiseworth as a manor before the Conquest, with 60 acres of ploughland, four 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 five acres held by eight free men; three 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.


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.