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All Saints, Eyke, Suffolk

(52°6′57″N, 1°22′58″E)
TM 317 518
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Suffolk
now Suffolk
  • Ron Baxter

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Feature Sets

Eyke is a village in SE Suffolk, 10 miles NE of Ipswich and 3 miles NE of Woodbridge. The river Deben flows past the NW edge of the village; the ground sloping down from the village into the valley. To the SE of the village is Rendlesham forest. Eyke is a good-sized village clustered around the A1152 road out of Woodbridge, with the church sited alongside the main road in the centre of the village.

St Michael's is a 12thc. church with four crossing arches between nave and chancel but no central tower, a short S transept, no N transept, a S porch to the nave and a N vestry to the chancel. The nave has been widened to the S by rebuilding the S wall on the line of the S wall of the S transept. The obvious interpretation of this evidence is that the church was originally cruciform, and a shaft at the SW angle of the S transept adds weight to this theory. The crossing tower must have been removed at some point, and local tradition holds that it collapsed in the 15thc., although there is no documentary evidence. The N transept has been removed, its arch blocked with brick and a fine 15thc. window inserted, said to come from Butley Priory. Above the arch a blocked 12thc. window is visible on the exterior. The S transept remains but its S wall has been rebuilt in brick with brick buttresses. This transept is referred to variously as Bavants chantry, St Mary's chantry and the Lady Chapel. It was founded as St Mary's chantry in 1359 by Robert of Redenhall, the rector, and endowed with the manor of Bavants, near Rendlesham. Inside the transept, the 12thc. window above the crossing arch is visible, and there is another 12thc. window on the E wall of this transept. The widening of the nave involved the insertion of an arch into the transept, and this is early 14thc. work. A plain 12thc. window is visible above the E crossing arch on the chancel side, assumed to serve a Sanctus bell rung from the ringing chamber at points in the mass. After the nave was widened, a new W façade wall was built, the E gable wall was rebuilt in the same form and a roof installed to cover the wider space. A bequest of 1451 dates the present W wall. The lateral nave doorways are both of c.1300, the S under a 15thc. porch, and the nave windows are 14thc. The chancel has one plain 13thc. window and one Y-tracery window of c.1300 on the S, and a 15thc. window on the N. A timber-framed and mortar rendered vestry has been added on the N side, apparently replacing an earlier flint vestry part of whose wall remains at the E end. Although the reconstruction of the 12thc. church offered here appears logical, it must be treated with some caution. Only the crossing is 12thc.; everything to E and W of it is later. The S transept is remarkably short. It apparently cannot have been shortened as the SW angle shaft indicates, but the E window appears cramped in the corner, as if it had been. The N transept is entirely gone. All four crossing arches are recorded here, although only those to the W and E are elaborately carved. All windows are plain and continuous and are not recorded here. Plans for a new N transept and vestry by Hakewill (1867-71) do not appear to have been carried through. There was an earlier restoration by William Pattisson of Woodbridge in 1857-59 involving reseating.


Eyke was not recorded by name in the Domesday Survey. It was first mentioned by name in connection with the manor of Staverton in 1177-85, when Henry II held part of Staverton Manor. The Domesday record for Staverton is thus of interest. Before the Conquest Eadric of Laxfield held Staverton as a manor with 4 carucates of land. In 1086, Hubert de Mont-Canisy held it from Robert Malet, and there were also 8 acres of meadow and woodland for 30 pigs. There was a mill there and a church with 10 acres of land. Hubert also held from Robert 57 acres and 3 acres of meadow held before the Conquest by 13 free men from Eadric of Laxfield. Malet was deprived of his estates in 1100 and Hubert de Mont-Canisy (also known as Munchensi) became the sole owner. At the end of the 12thc. Ralph de Munchensi settled the manor on Hugh Bigod, the son of Roger Bigod, Earl of Norfolk. The estate subsequently passed to the Uffords, Earls of Suffolk. By the later 14thc. the lord was John de Staverton, who found himself the target of attacks by Eyke insurgents during the Peasants' Revolt of 1381.

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


Interior Features


Tower/Transept arches

St Edmund's, Fritton was similarly widened by moving the S nave wall. Two features of the chevron ornament at Eyke are unusual in Suffolk: the point-to-point face chevron enclosing lozenges on the W crossing arch, first order, and the triple row of frontal face chevron on the E crossing arch, second order. No exact local parallel has been found for either motif.

H. M. Cautley, Suffolk Churches and their Treasures. London 1937, 258.
P.Ashton and P. F. R. Hatcher, A History of Eyke Village and Church. Published separately 1981 and 1982. Joint ed. 1993.
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, 209.