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All Saints, Stoke Ash, Suffolk

(52°17′27″N, 1°5′59″E)
Stoke Ash
TM 115 704
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales) Suffolk
now Suffolk
  • Ron Baxter

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Feature Sets

The village of Stoke Ash consists of houses and farm buildings on loops of road off the A140 Norwich to Ipswich road, six miles S of Diss and 16 miles N of Ipswich. It lies between the river Dove, a tributary of the Waveney, and one of the Dove's own tributaries, in arable farmland. Stoke Ash was a Roman centre and the A140 a Roman road. Considerable finds of pottery, brooches and coins alongside the tributary suggest a waterfront settlement, and there is evidence of Roman industry and agriculture nearby. The church stands some 180 metres E of the main road, with the hall site nearby.

All Saints' has a nave with a S porch, a chancel and a W tower. The three 12thc. doorways, two in the nave and one on the N side of the chancel, provide evidence of 12thc. construction here. The S doorway is protected by a simple 15thc. brick porch and the N nave doorway is blocked, and all three are completely plain. The flint nave was rebuilt with diagonal W buttresses and one N buttress, all with flushwork decoration, c.1400, and most of the windows are Perpendicular too. The flint chancel is as wide as the nave, though its roof is not as high, and there is no chancel arch. There is a three-light 13thc. window on the N side, which appears to be a replacement, and a 15thc. S window. The flowing E window is by Phipson (1868), as are the porch windows. The tower is of knapped flint with diagonal buttresses, 15thc. W doorway and window and bell-openings in a 14thc. reticulated style. It has a polygonal S stair and an embattled parapet with gargoyles below it. The three plain 12thc. doorways are described below


Wulgifu held Stoke Ash before the Conquest as a manor of one carucate and 40 acres with 4 acres of meadow, woodland for eight pigs and a church with 15 acres of land. This was recorded under Robert Malet's holdings in 1086, but there were five free men with 32 acres and Wulfgifu held the soke, except over the free men where it was held by the king and Earl Hugh. Another holding of 20 acres and 2 acres of meadow listed under Robert Malet was held by Sigeric before the Conquest. Ten acres with woodland for two pigs and half an acre of meadow were held in 1086 by seven free men commended to the Abbot of St Edmundsbury and from him. Another holding of 33½ acres and an acre of meadow was held by 14 free men from the abbot. Burgheard, a sokemen of the abbot, held 14 acres before the Conquest. This was asserted to belong to the royal manor of Mendlesham by Robert Fardenc, the man of the king’s steward, Godric, claiming that Walter de Dol had forfeited it to the king. Finally, four free men commended to Burgheard held 8 acres and half an acre of meadow from the king.

South Hartismere benefice, i.e. Gislingham, Mellis, Stoke Ash, Thorndon with Rishangles, Thornham Magna, Thornham Parva, Thwaite and Wetheringsett cum Brockford.


Exterior Features



As Pevsner suggests, the chamfered profile of these doorways points to a late-12thc. date.

H. M. Cautley, Suffolk Churches and their Treasures. London 1937.
D. P. Mortlock, The Popular Guide to Suffolk Churches: 2 Central Suffolk. Cambridge 1990, 195.
N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Suffolk. Harmondsworth 1961, rev. E. Radcliffe 1975, 437.
East Anglian Daily Times, Dec. 16 2004: 'Roman remains found by busy road'.