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St Peter, Stutton, Suffolk

(51°57′57″N, 1°8′39″E)
TM 161 344
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Suffolk
now Suffolk
  • Ron Baxter

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Feature Sets

Stutton is an extensive settlement set in the arable farmland on the N bank of the Stour estuary, 6 miles S of the centre of Ipswich. It lies along the B1080 road that follows the estuary a mile inland, and along by-roads running S to the river bank. The church is at the eastern end of the village, with Stutton House (built as the rectory in 1750) immediately S of it. Stutton Hall (built by Sir Edmund Jermy in 1553) is at the SW end of the village, some 1½ miles away. St Peter's is a complex building with many additions. Nave and chancel are similar in height, the chancel slightly taller. On the S side, the tower acts also as a porch into the nave, and a transeptal S vestry has been added to the chancel. On the N is a transept added to the E end of the nave with the Lady Chapel E of this, alongside the chancel. All is of flint and pebbles, but the N wall of the nave has been rendered and whitewashed. The nave is 14thc. with cusped Y-tracery windows. The tower is early 15thc. and of flint with Bath stone dressings with diagonal buttresses on the southern angles and an embatttled parapet decorated with chequered flushwork. The remainder of the church results from various Victorian campaigns. The north transept was added in 1862 to accommodate schoolchildren, and in 1875 the Lady Chapel was added to the E of it. The chancel was rebuilt in the same year. Its three-light cusped intersecting E window is said to be an exact copy of the original, and if so this suggests an early 14thc date. The S vestry dates from 1879 and serves as an organ chamber. It was enlarged to accommodate a bigger organ in 1902. In 1975 the arches separating the N transept and Lady Chapel from the main vessel were blocked with glass panels. In the external E wall of the S vestry is a reset lancet window, 11th-12thc. in date, which is the only Romanesque feature of the church.


The Domesday Survey records four pre-Conquest manors at Stutton. The holdings are as follows. Edwin held Stutton with 60 acres of ploughland and 1 acre of meadow as a manor. This was held by Count Alan in demesne in 1086. Fridebern held Stutton with 2 carucates of ploughland and 4 acres of meadow as a manor, that included the third part of a church with 15 acres and a salt-pan and 2 beehives. Rainalm holds it from Geoffrey de Mandeville in 1086. Skalpi, a thegn of Harold's held Stutton as a manor with 2 carucates of ploughland, 5 acres of meadow, woodland for 16 pigs, a mill, two salt-pans and half a church with 15 acres. William de Alno held it from Robert Gernon in 1086. Eadnoth held 60 acres of ploughland as a manor with an acre of meadow. Robert Gernon held it in demesne in 1086.

Benefice of Holbrook, Stutton, Freston, Woolverstone and Wherstead.


Exterior Features



The cutting of the sill and head of the vestry window and the condition of the jambs suggest that it really is a reset window (as Pevsner and Cautley believed), rather than simply stones reset as a window, although the stone above the head (a) may not originally have been part of it. If this is what it was, it must date fromc.1080-1100. This is rather late for this kind of interlace decoration, but it is a common type whose currency extended from the 9thc to the end of the 11thc in England.

H. M. Cautley, Suffolk Churches and their Treasures. London 1937, 321.
D. P. Mortlock, The Popular Guide to Suffolk Churches: 3 East Suffolk. Cambridge 1992.
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Suffolk. Harmondsworth 1961, rev. E. Radcliffe 1975, 449-50.
P. D. Simmons, St Peter's Church Stutton. Church Guide and History. Stutton 1974, 6th ed. 1997.