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St Lawrence, Brundish, Suffolk

(52°16′39″N, 1°19′39″E)
TM 271 696
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Suffolk
now Suffolk
  • Ron Baxter

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Brundish is towards the N of E Suffolk, in a hilly arable region of dispersed settlements. It is 4 miles N of Framlingham and 9 miles SW of Halesworth. The old centre was clustered around the church and Brundish Hall immediately to the NE, with a second nucleus at Brundish Street, a mile to the NW, centred on Brundish House. Brundish Hall was demolished in the 1920s, and reputedly shipped to the USA to be rebuilt there, so the church stands alone in its graveyard, and Brundish Street now represents the centre of the village. St Lawrence's has a 12thc. W tower of flint with ashlar quoins. It retains traces of round-headed windows, now blocked; one at a low level and a pair at a higher level on its N, S and W faces. On the E face, the more elaborate 12thc. double bell-opening remains higher still, but the other three faces have 15thc. bell-openings at the same level. There is an embattled parapet, also of flint. The tower arch is small, plain and partly blocked with a doorway set in it. The tall nave and chancel are of flint and entirely 15thc. There is a S porch decorated with flushwork and repaired with red brick, and the nave and chancel buttresses also have flushwork decoration. The church is famous for its brasses; a 14thc. brass of Sir Edmund de Burnedissh, a priest, and 16thc. ones to the Colby family. Several of the Brundish brasses were stolen in the 19thc. and that of Sir Francis Colby (c.1570) has since been rediscovered in the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Attempts by the Parish Council to repatriate it have so far been unsuccessful, although the museum has supplied a replica to hang in the church (The Guardian). The church also contains 18thc. box-pews encasing medieval benches, and carved bench-ends. The chancel was restored in the 19thc., and repairs to the church were carried out by C. B. Smith of Woodbridge in 1962-63. Romanesque features recorded here are the tower arch and the east bell-opening.


Brundish does not occur in the Domesday Survey. References to a family taking their name from the manor, called Burndish or Brundish, first occur at the beginning of the 14thc. when John de Burndish is recorded as holding a half interest in Moreton manor, Essex (VCH). The Colbys apparently came into possession of the manor in the 16thc.

Benefice of Laxfield, Cratfield, Wilby and Brundish.


Exterior Features


Interior Features


Tower/Transept arches

A date around 1170 is suggested for the bell-opening, but the tower arch is probably half a century or more earlier, which implies two campaigns of Romanesque work on the tower.

Victoria County History: Essex IV (1956), 131-34.
H. M. Cautley, Suffolk Churches and their Treasures. London 1937, 235.
D. P. Mortlock, The Popular Guide to Suffolk Churches: 2 Central Suffolk. Cambridge 1990, 36-37.
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Suffolk. Harmondsworth 1961, rev. E. Radcliffe 1975, 119.
N. Pyke and R. Stummer, 'Village churches take fight for stolen brasses to US', The Guardian, 4 March 2003 (http://www.guardian.co.uk/religion/Story/0,2763,906842,00.html)