A walking trail of our historic Suffolk churches

A visit to Mollett’s Farm is the perfect getaway break from it all. Why not couple your stay with a reflective and fascinating tour of the many ancient Churches in our beautiful part of Suffolk.

The Angels and Pinnacles is a community project supported by English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery, designed to teach people about their local history through parish churches. It was launched by the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich in March 2012. Now celebrating it’s 7th Birthday, what better way to spend your holiday at Mollett’s Farm than visiting a few of these churches and enjoying their stories. Today there are at least 706 Anglican, Catholic and non-conformist churches in Suffolk which are open to the public.

Interestingly, three-quarters of England’s 16,000 parish churches are listed as buildings of architectural and historic interest in Grades I and II. In fact, 45% of all England’s listed buildings are grade I listed Churches.

Churches were at the heart of every community in Suffolk, some still truly are but with the evolving role of parish churches projects like Angels and Pinnacles are the ideal way to keep our parish churches alive and bustling, and their welfare in the forefront of our minds.

Angels and Pinnacles have created a series of trails you can walk, cycle or drive around, each encompassing parish churches, pretty Suffolk scenery and plenty of interesting sites to pique your interest.

This week we’re focussing on the Framlingham trail, which has 3 options 2.5 miles, 4.75 miles and a 13 mile cycle trail. They each take in four Churches – St Michael the Archangel, Framlingham; St John the Baptist Church, Badingham; St Mary’s Church, Dennington; and St Mary’s Church Worlingworth.

The Church of St Michael the Archangel, Framlingham.

Framlingham Church interior

Famously, an illegitimate son of Henry VIII of England and his mistress Elizabeth Blount, Henry FitzRoy, 1st Duke of Richmond and Somerset is buried within the church in an ornate tomb. One of the most noted features of the church is the world-famous Thamar organ. The organ has some pretty renowned associations: Mendelssohn is believed to have given lessons to Caroline Attwood when he visited her elder brother George Attwood, then Rector. Mendelssohn knew George’s father, Thomas Attwood, composer and organist of St. Paul’s Cathedral and one-time pupil of Mozart. The church also houses the magnificent tombs of the Howard Family dynasty, who also had links with King Henry VIII and his wives.

St John the Baptist Church, Badingham.

Badingham Church

This ancient church has Norman origins but was rebuilt in the 13th century. See if you can spot the little carving of a cat in the porch! The tomb of William and Lucie Cotton is a sight to behold and the intricate detail is incredible. The couple lay side by side, while two small children pray underneath them. The canopy is decorated with red flowers and supported by two pillars decorated with coats of arms and at the top is a small figure holding a shield.

St Mary’s Church, Dennington

Dennington Church

A fantastic example of 14th century church architecture St Mary’s defied the trends of the times and missed out on being ‘restored’ by the Victorians. As a consequence, it retains some very unusual original features – The north chancel chapel is surrounded by an intricate parclose screen, painted in brown, red, orange and blue. The ends of pews are very unique in the fact that they are not carved with depictions of saints but instead carved with birds, animals and mythical creatures. In fact, it is home to a carving of England’s only Medieval Tortoise.

Medieval Tortoise carving

The Bardolph tomb in the south chantry chapel has beautifully carved alabaster effigies of Sir William Phelip and his wife, Juliana. William was chamberlain to Henry VI, Bailiff of Framlingham, a hero of Agincourt and Harfleur, and a knight of the garter.

St Mary’s Church Worlingworth.

Churches-Worlingworth

Built on a site which was used for worship in pre-Christian times St Mary’s in Worlingworth is a very special church. It is best known for its stunning 15th century double hammer-beam roof decorated with carved angels bearing heraldic shields and the ornately carved 15th century font and cover which were originally from Bury St Edmunds Abbey and were bought to the church during the Reformation.

Perhaps uniquely, at least as far as we know, St Mary’s is home to a 1760’s fire engine, a fascinating piece of equipment which is sure to get you thinking and bring a smile to your face.

These Churches offer a fascinating insight into our communities. From Social History, as evidenced in the painting of the Worlingorth Jubilee Feast at St Mary’s to economic and military history with the Howard Family in Framlingham, there are plenty of stories to hear and lessons to learn.

Whether you are of any faith or of none, this project provides an eye-opening opportunity to learn all about our past, and maybe even provide some food for thought as to what our futures might hold.

So, why not join us for a stay in one of our lovely granary cottages or stable studios? We are perfectly situated for a tour of these beautiful churches. Don’t forget there are plenty more exciting things to do in Suffolk so why not check out the rest of our blog.

We look forward to welcoming you.