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St Mary, Gedding, Suffolk

(52°11′11″N, 0°51′14″E)
TL 952 581
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Suffolk
now Suffolk
  • Ron Baxter

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Feature Sets

Gedding is midway between Bury and Stowmarket, well S of the A14, in farmland that is mostly arable with some woodland and pasture. The church stands at the eastern end of the village, and the hall (partly 16thc and now the home of Bill Wyman) is half a mile away to NE. St Mary’s is a flint church of nave and chancel with a low W tower whose upper part is of red brick with a tiled pyramid roof. The nave is 12thc; it has a tiny round-headed lancet just E of the lateral doorways to N and S. The S window has chevron decoration; the N is plain. The S nave doorway is a plain 13thc. piece without a porch; the N is ofc.1200 and very plain. Other nave windows are 14thc. The 13thc. chancel arch is narrow and has 14thc. ogee-headed openings to either side, decorated on their E faces only with seaweed foliage and ballflowers. The chancel windows are early 14thc. The tower arch is 15thc., tall and carried on corbels. The tower is also 15thc., of knapped flint with diagonal buttresses decorated with flushwork. It was dilapidated by the 1880s, and was rebuilt with red brick at the top, but the flushwork is original and includes a Marian monogram and the arms of the Chamberlins (according to Mortlock). The Romanesque features described here are the N nave doorway and the S nave window.


The Domesday Survey lists two holdings in Gedding. First, 13 free men held 55 acres of land from St Edmundsbury Abbey. This holding contained a church with six acres of free land. The second holding was of 60 acres, held by two free men of St Edmundsbury from William de Warenne. The presence of the Chamberlain arms on the tower suggests a connection with Sir William Chamberlain of Gedding, a Knight of the Garter (c.1461) and courtier of Edward IV.

Benefice of Bradfield St Clare, Bradfield St George with Little Whelnetham, Cockfield, Felsham and Gedding.


Exterior Features




The window probably dates from the middle of the 12thc.; the doorway fromc.1200 or later. The use of beading to emphasise an arch is common locally occurring, for example, at Beyton and on a re-set stone at Werfield.

H. M. Cautley, Suffolk Churches and their Treasures. London 1937, 263.
F. Haslewood, 'Notes on Gedding Church by Davy and T. Martin transcribed', Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and Natural History, VII pt 2 (1890), xxiii-xxiv.
D. P. Mortlock, The Popular Guide to Suffolk Churches: 1 W Suffolk. Cambridge 1988, 78-79.
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Suffolk. Harmondsworth 1961, rev. E. Radcliffe 1975, 227.