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St Edmund, Fritton, Suffolk

(52°32′33″N, 1°38′44″E)
TG 473 001
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Suffolk
now Norfolk
  • Ron Baxter

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St Edmunds is a complete 12thc. church of nave, round W tower and chancel with an apsidal E end. The 12thc. nave was originally much narrower, and was widened in the 14thc. by moving the S wall nine feet S. The result is that both the tower and the chancel are set at the N end of their respective nave walls. The effect is most disconcerting looking down the nave from W to E. The chancel has a barrel-vaulted straight bay and an apse with three windows, deeply splayed and decorated with a chevron order within, but small and plain without. The windows of the straight bay are insertions, perhaps of the 14thc. The arch to the chancel is pointed and of four orders that die into the walls without supports. It presumably belongs to the 14thc. remodelling. The apse arch is 12thc. and described below. The exterior of the chancel is of flint with some brickwork repairs at the top and flat pilaster buttresses. The nave is also of flint, although its tall E wall has been rebuilt in brick. It has a S doorway with a porch of knapped flints, and the N doorway now gives access from inside the church to a 19thc. vestry. Both nave and chancel have thatched roofs. There is no tower arch inside the church; simply a small pointed doorway. The lower section of the tower is of flint with some large blocks of ashlar, bricks and tiles included. The upper part is of knapped flints with a parapet of brick. There are 13thc. lancets in the lower storey, wider pointed windows of brick at the foot of the upper storey and Perpendicular bell-openings. There was a restoration in 1854-56 by J. Brown and B. Jackson.

Inside the church are 12thc. paintings of the Life of St Edmund (in the apse) and a large 14thc. painting of St Christopher (in the nave). Romanesque sculpture described here is confined to the apse windows and the apse arch.


Fritton was among the king's lands administered by Roger Bigod in 1086. It had been held by Godwine from Gyrth before the Conquest. No church was recorded.

Benefice of Somerleyton, Ashby, Fritton, Herringfleet, Blundeston and Lound.


Exterior Features


Interior Features


Chancel arch/Apse arches

The barrel-vaulted chancel apse is a rare survival, and not just in Suffolk. There is another apsidal chancel at Wissington, on the Stour.

H. M. Cautley, Suffolk Churches and their Treasures. London 1937, 262-63.
D. P. Mortlock, The Popular Guide to Suffolk Churches: 3 East Suffolk. Cambridge 1992, xxx
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Suffolk. Harmondsworth 1961, rev. E. Radcliffe 1975, 225.
A. Suckling, The History and Antiquities of the County of Suffolk, I. London 1846, 352-59.