Building record PLS 015 - Church of St Mary

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St Mary's church, Polstead, is situated in Polstead Park.


Grid reference Centred TL 9890 3807 (30m by 23m) (Centred on)
Map sheet TL93NE


Type and Period (1)

Full Description

St Mary's church, Polstead, is situated in Polstead Park. It is next to the Hall south west of the main village. To the west of the church is the famous "Gospel Oak". The west tower is 14th century; the only tower in Suffolk having its original stone spire. The main entrance is through the north porch but there is a south porch as well, which has a scratch dial which was rebuilt upside down. The nave retains its 12th century arcades with piers having engaged columns, carved caps and brick arches, brick clerestory windows, now blocked by the later aisle roofs. No trace remains of the 12th century aisle except fragments of stone re-used in the 14th century building. The nave roof is of tie-beam and king-post construction. Plain 13th century font. The eastern bay of the north aisle roof is pannelled as a canopy of honour to the alter and retains some of its original colour decoration. There are indistinct remains of wall paintings on north nave arcade, fragments of 15th century + foreign glass in chancel. Of the Stuart period are the holy table, the three-sided communion rails and a bench at the west end with unusually treated bench ends. This church is one of the few having its original paper register from 1538, the first year that registers were ordered to be kept (S1).

12th century thin bricks (earliest Post-Roman bricks in country) claimed as used in chancel arch and nave arcade (S2).

A C12 church with C14 aisles, north and south porches and west tower with stone spire. The aisle windows and south aisle roof are C16. The church is built of flint and stone externally and Norman brick and Tufa blocks internally. See S3 for further details (S3).

Sources/Archives (3)

  • <S1> Bibliographic reference: Cautley H M. 1975. Suffolk Churches. Cautley H M, Suffolk Churches, 339.
  • <S2> (No record type): Clifton-Taylor A, The Pattern of English Building, 1972.
  • <S3> Digital archive: English Heritage. Listed Buildings Online. National Ref: 1284554.

Finds (2)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (2)

Related Events/Activities (0)

Record last edited

Jul 4 2018 1:50PM

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