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

St Mary, Rickinghall Inferior, Suffolk

(52°20′9″N, 0°59′29″E)
Rickinghall Inferior
TM 039 751
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=9723.

Find out how to cite the CRSBI website here.

Feature Sets

Rickinghall is a substantial village alongside the A143 Bury St Edmunds to Diss road, some 13 miles NE of Bury. The country hereabouts is rolling arable farmland. The road through Rickinghall runs into the neighbouring village of Botesdale, the two making a densely populated settlement over a mile long. The A143 Bury to Diss road acts as a bypass, but while most of the Rickinghall and Botesdale, including St Mary's Rickinghall Inferior, lie to the N of the bypass, the church of Rickinghall Superior stands on a hill to the S and is consequently cut off from the rest of the village. Rickinghall Superior (confusingly also dedicated to St Mary) is now redundant and in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust. An Iron Age settlement at Calke Wood, a mile to the west, and a Romano-British pottery kiln found at Rickinghall Inferior and dating fromc.100 AD attests to the early occupation of the site.

St Mary's Rickinghall Inferior is a flint church at the western edge of the village, alongside the main street. It has a nave with a S aisle, separately roofed, a chancel and a round W tower. The tower is 12thc. in its lower part, with a plain round-headed W lancet and a round-headed tower arch. The top storey is 14thc. and octagonal and there is an embattled parapet with flushwork and finials. The nave may also be 12thc. in origin, but on the N side all the windows and the doorway are 15thc., and on the S a late-13thc. aisle has been added with a four-bay arcade. The aisle windows are late-13thc. too, with geometrical tracery, except for the E window, which is 15thc. The S doorway is late-13thc. and has a two-storey brick porch dating fromc.1300. The chancel is ofc.1300 to judge from the chancel arch and the Y-traceried S windows, but replacement windows have been added; a flowing E window ofc.1350 and a 15thc. N window. The only Romanesque feature recorded here is the tower arch.


Rickinghall Inferior was held as a manor by St Edmundsbury abbey before and after the Conquest according to the Domesday Survey. It comprised 2 carucates of ploughland, 8 acres of meadow and woodland for 60 pigs. Two free men held another half carucate from the abbey, and this holding contained a church with 24 acres of free land. Robert Malet also held 30 acres of land here, and Hubert from him.

Benefice of Redgrave cum Botesdale with Rickinghall.


Interior Features


Tower/Transept arches

The tower arch and W window date fromc.1100, and this may be the date of the lower part of the tower.

H. M. Cautley, Suffolk Churches and their Treasures. London 1937.
J. M. Blatchly and D. Sherwood, 'Rickinghall Inferior, Botesdale, Hepworth, Hinderclay and Thelnetham.' Proceedings of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology and Natural History, 1995.
D. P. Mortlock, The Popular Guide to Suffolk Churches: 1 West Suffolk. Cambridge 1988, 177-78.
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Suffolk. Harmondsworth 1961, rev. E. Radcliffe 1975, 403-04.