We use cookies to improve your experience, some are essential for the operation of this site.

St Nicholas, Bedfield, Suffolk

(52°14′59″N, 1°15′39″E)
TM 227 663
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Suffolk
now Suffolk
  • Ron Baxter

Please use this link to cite this page - https://www.crsbi.ac.uk/view-item?i=9248.

Find out how to cite the CRSBI website here.

Feature Sets

Bedfield is a sprawling village of some 300 inhabitants in the flat arable farmland of the East Anglian plain. It is remote from major centres, being 14 miles N of Ipswich and 10 miles SE of Diss. The church is more or less in the geographical centre of the village, but is surrounded by farmland and neighboured by the farm itself. The hall site is 91 metres (100 yards) to the N. St Nicholas's church comprises a nave with a S porch, chancel and W tower. The flint nave has a 12thc. N doorway, which, with the layered masonry, indicates its date of construction. The nave windows are all 15th-16thc. now. The S doorway and its porch are 13thc., as are the chancel arch and the niches to either side of it. There is a SE rood stair with a 13thc. pointed arch. Some of the chancel masonry appears 12thc., but the chancel arch, piscina and N window are 13thc., indicating a major remodelling. The S windows are 15th-16thc., while the E window dates from 1872. The knapped flint W tower is 15thc., with a W doorway with flowers in the arch and niches above, diagonal W buttresses and an embattled parapet. There is flushwork decoration on the plinth, buttresses and parapet. The only Romanesque sculpture surviving is on the N doorway, now partly obscured by a shrubbery.


Godwine held Bedfield as a manor before the Conquest, his holding consisting of 4 carucates of ploughland, 9 acres of meadow and woodland for 200 pigs. The manor was listed among the holdings of Robert Malet in 1086. No church is recorded in the Domesday Survey, but the Benedictine priory of Eye, founded by Robert Malet in the Conquero's reign, names Bedfield and its church as one of its endowments (VCH). Thereafter the church was in the hands of Eye priory until the Dissolution. The Ufford arms appear on the W window and the font (the Uffords were patrons of Eye), but there are problems here, noted by Tricker. In brief the tower appears to date from the 15thc., and there was a bequest by William Folkard of Bedfield for work on it in 1470. The Ufford arms, however, appear to relate to William de Ufford, second Earl of Suffolk, and his wife Isabella Beauchamp, and they were married in 1376 and died respectively in 1382 and 1416. It may be, of course, that the construction extended over a very long period.

Benefice of Worlingworth with Southolt, Tannington, Bedfield and Monk Soham.


Exterior Features



Similarly heavy chevron ornament and chamfered block capitals occur in the NE of the county at Henstead and Ilketshall St Andrew, but there is probably no direct connection.

Victoria County History: Suffolk II (1975), 72-76.
H. M. Cautley, Suffolk Churches and their Treasures. London 1937, 224.
D. P. Mortlock, The Popular Guide to Suffolk Churches: 2 Central Suffolk. Cambridge 1990, 18.
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Suffolk. Harmondsworth 1961, rev. E. Radcliffe 1975, 95.
R. Tricker, The Church of St Nicholas, Bedfield. Church guide 2003, reprinted 2004.