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St Andrew, Wissett, Suffolk

(52°21′38″N, 1°28′24″E)
TM 366 793
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Suffolk
now Suffolk
  • Ron Baxter

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St Andrew's is a flint church consisting of a long unaisled nave with N and S doorways, the S under a 15thc. porch; a chancel with a N vestry, and a round W tower. Both doorways are 12thc. work, but the nave windows are Perpendicular. At the NE of the nave is a rood stair. The chancel is a rebuilding ofc.1800. The W tower has a plain, narrow arch towards the nave, narrow round-headed lancets at the level of the nave roof and oculi in the next storey. The oculi were discovered blocked and the N one reopened in 1977. The bell-openings are pointed and above them an added top storey has gargoyles and a battlemented parapet with flushwork merlons. Romanesque features described here are the two nave doorways and the tower arch.


Before the Conquest Wisset was held by Ralph the staller, Baron of Gael in Brittany. He was created Earl of Suffolk and Norfolk in 1067, but his son lost the title and the manor passed to Count Alan of Brittany and Richmond in 1075. By 1086 Wissett had a church with 2 carucates of free land. In the church were 12 monks and under it one chapel. The church referred to was the Benedictine priory at Rumburgh (founded 1064) in the parish of Wissett, and the chapel was at Wissett itself.

Blyth Valley Team Ministry, i.e. Blyford, Bramfield, Chediston, Halesworth, Holton, Linstead Parva, Spexhall, Thorington, Walpole, Wenhaston and Wissett.


Exterior Features


Interior Features


Tower/Transept arches

Kiddy repeats W. J. Goode's assertion that the tower is 'no later than 1000 AD and probably nearer to 900 AD'; Cautley calls it 11thc., and for Pevsner it is Norman. It is not included in Taylor and Taylor. The present author is inclined to accept the lancets and tower arch as original to the tower, dating it to the last quarter of the 11thc. The chevron on the N doorway is identical to that on the S doorway at Walpole. The S doorway shares features with the W doorway at Whall, clearly by the same workshop; most notably the treatment of the outer order with heads and tapered bridges, the designs of some of the heads, and the fluted capitals.

H. M. Cautley, Suffolk Churches and their Treasures. London 1937, 346.
M. Kiddy, St Andrew's, Wissett. A Guide. 1989, rev.1997.
D. P. Mortlock, The Popular Guide to Suffolk Churches: 3 E Suffolk. Cambridge 1992, xxx.
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Suffolk. Harmondsworth 1961, rev. E. Radcliffe 1975, 493.