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St Peter, Sibton, Suffolk

(52°16′21″N, 1°28′10″E)
TM 368 695
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Suffolk
now Suffolk
  • Ron Baxter

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Feature Sets

Sibton is set in rolling arable and woodland on the S side of the Yox valley in W Suffolk, 5 miles S of Halesworth and 4 miles N of Saxmundham. It is immediately E of Peasenhall, on the Roman road that is now the A1120. The church stands on the A1120 at the eastern end of the village, and to the N of it is the site of Sibton Abbey, founded around 1150 and the only Cistercian house in the county. It is now ruinous and surrounded by woodland. Half a mile further E is Sibton Park and the hall site. St Peter’s has a nave with a N aisle and S porch, a chancel with a N organ room and vestry and a W tower. The flint nave has ac.1200 S doorway under a 19thc. porch, and the S windows, replaced in the 19thc., have plate tracery. The knapped flint N aisle dates fromc.1500, and has a four-bay arcade, broad, three-light windows and a battlemented parapet outside. The N doorway to the aisle is a re-set 13thc. piece. The flint chancel was rebuilt in the 19thc., with a S doorway that copies motifs from the 12thc. nave doorway. The tower has a plain and continuous pointed arch to the nave, but is substantially 15thc. and constructed of flints, knapped flints and septaria. It has diagonal buttresses with flushwork decoration and a battlemented parapet with flushwork and gargoyles below. A clear masonry break shows that the bell stage has been rebuilt or raised. The only feature recorded here is the Transitional S nave doorway.


Before the Conquest, one free man, Alwine, held one carucate and 2 acres as a manor, with six acres of meadow and woodland for 60 pigs. This was held by Mainard from Count Alan in 1086. A further six pre-Conquest holdings, four of them manors, were united by 1086 and held by Walter of Caen from Robert Malet. They totalled one carucate and 218 acres (i.e. almost three carucates). One of these holdings had a church and another two churches. Walter of Caen was succeeded by his son Robert, reputedly the founder of St Peter's, and by Robert's son William de Cheney. On William's death in 1174 overlordship of his lands passed to his eldest daughter Margery (d. 1231), who married first Hugh de Cressy and then Robert, son of Roger of Clavering. By 1291 the rectory of Sibton church belonged to Sibton abbey.

Benefice of Yoxford, Peasenhall and Sibton.


Exterior Features



The keeled arch moulding and capital forms imply a datec.1190-1210 for this doorway.

Victoria County History: Essex X (2001), 107.
Victoria County History: Suffolk II (1975), 89-91.
H. M. Cautley, Suffolk Churches and their Treasures. London 1937, 315.
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, 419-20.