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All Saints, Hawstead, Suffolk

(52°12′2″N, 0°42′52″E)
TL 856 593
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Suffolk
now Suffolk
  • Ron Baxter

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Hawstead is a village in the hundred of Thingoe, some 3 miles S of the centre of Bury St Edmunds. The church stands on a by-road at the NW end of the village, alongside Church Farm, and Hawstead Hall is half a mile from the church, to the NE. All Saints' is a big church consisting of a broad aisleless nave with a S porch, a lower chancel with a N vestry and a W tower. Nave and tower are of knapped flints with stone dressings; the E gable of the nave rebuilt in brick. The chancel is of flint and septaria and the vestry of flint with brick repairs. The nave is substantially of the 15th-16thc., and has Perpendicular windows and buttresses decorated with flushwork panels, but the N and S doorways are 12thc. work, clearly re-set. Inside is a fine 16thc. hammerbeam angel roof, unfortunately mutilated during the civil war of the 17thc. and over-restored in 1858. The S porch is 15thc. The chancel has a blocked round-headed window towards the W end of the S wall, indicating 12thc. fabric. It was re-modelled and probably lengthened in the early 13thc. (plain N and S lancets), and other windows date from all periods fromc.1300 to the 15thc. The chancel arch was heavily restored in the 19thc. The tower is of one campaign, completedc.1500. It has a polygonal S stair, diagonal W buttresses with flushwork panels, and more intricate flushwork on the battlemented parapet. Above the W doorway is a frieze bearing the arms of Sir Robert Drury and his family's alliances by marriage. Hawstead church is mainly celebrated for its monuments: a late-13thc. knight effigy reputed to be Sir Eustace fitzEustace; tombs of the Drury family dating from the 16thc. and early 17thc., and the overblown Italianate tomb of Sir Thomas Cullum (d.1664).

Romanesque sculpture is found on the two nave doorways, and there is a plain font, probably 12thc.


In 1086 there were 28 free men in Hawstead, holding 4 carucates of land. The most important of them were Odo, who held 1 carucate, two clerics called Albold and Peter who held 2 carucates between them, and Agenet who held 20 acres. There was also a church with 30 acres of free land. The soke and the commendation of this entire holding belonged to St Edmundsbury abbey. A small parcel of 15 acres, held by 2 free men of Wihtgar before the Conquest, was held by Richard fitzGilbert in 1086.

In the 12thc., records of Bury St Edmunds abbey distinguish two holdings in Hawstead; one was held first by Ralph de Halstede from the abbot and (by Abbot Sampson's time) by his son Robert. The other was held by Thomas Noel and his heirs. The first principal lords of the manor were the fitzEustace family, who apparently gained their title by the marriage of Thomas fitzEustace to Joan, daughter of Thomas Noel, around the year 1220. The fitzEustace family held the manor until it was sold by John fitzEustacec.1354 to Sir William de Middleton who in turn sold it to Sir William de Clopton,c.1359. Sir William Clopton sold it to Sir Robert Drury in 1504. Sir Robert became Speaker of the House of Commons, and was responsible for much of the building of Hawstead church. He died in 1536. The estate remained in the Drury family until 1656, when it was sold to Thomas Cullum.

St Edmund Way benefice, i.e. Bradfield Combust, Great Whelnetham, Hawstead, Lawshall, Nowton and Stanningfield.


Exterior Features





The two doorways are contemporary and are both marked by several unusual features: the combination of lateral and frontal chevron in the same order, the capital shields with their relief triangles, and the integral imposts. The early base forms and the use of simple cushion and scallop capitals both point to a date in the 1120s or '30s.

C. Catton, Hawstead Church (church guide), 1978, updated by A. E. Hillman 1998.
H. M. Cautley, Suffolk Churches and their Treasures. London 1937.
D. P. Mortlock, The Popular Guide to Suffolk Churches: 1 West Suffolk. Cambridge 1988, 96-99.
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Suffolk. Harmondsworth 1961, rev. E. Radcliffe 1975, 255-56.