Monument record WSS 012 - Church of St Andrew

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Church & churchyard of St Andrew.


Grid reference Centred TM 3661 7929 (89m by 88m) (Centred on)
Map sheet TM37NE


Type and Period (3)

Full Description

A church is listed in Wissett with chapel in the Domesday survey in 1086. Church of St Andrew, consisting of chancel, vestry, nave, S porch and round W tower. Norman N doorway, inner S doorway, lower tower and tower arch. C13 priests door. Chancel rebuilt in C14. Nave C14/C15. Porch added, chancel arch rebuilt, tower raised circa 1470. Circa 1800 restoration. Details in (S1)(S2).

2004: Attempts to dedrochronologically date timber floor of tower failed (S4)

2006: Analysis by dendrochronology had been undertaken previously on samples from the second floor of the bell tower of this church. Two of the samples cross-matched, but neither the mean sequence nor the individual timbers could be dated. A series of six radiocarbon measurements was undertaken on samples from the mean chronology once tree-ring analysis has failed to produce absolute dating. Wiggle-matching of these results against the currently internationally-agreed calibration data set, suggests that these timbers were felled in cal AD 1095 - 1135 (13% probability) or cal AD 1145 - 1205 (82% probability). Consequently it appears that the second floor of the bell tower at St Andrew's, Wissett is a survival of the original twelfth-century construction (S3).

2009: A survey to record the round tower of St Andrew's Church, Wissett was undertaken in advance of the replacement of the 15th century bell frame. The tower is a fine example of Norman craftsmanship and both the tower and nave were constructed simultaneously during the mid-12th century. The fabric of the tower gives a clear insight on how the masons worked; how the windows were constructed and their building schedule. This showed twelve clear annual construction lifts, but suggests a cessation of work after the construction of each of the storeys, at which point the building may have been temporarily roofed to enable it to have been used. The belfry was enlarged and the tower height was raised in the 15th century to accommodate the (now) former bell frame. Evidence of the original wall plate, which may have also served as the bell hanging, indicated the lower level from which the original roof was raised. The body of the church was also extensively remodelled and enlarged. Part of these changes included the addition of the spiral stair which altered the access to the first floor tower room which had previously only been accessible via a ladder through a high door in the gable end of the nave. This door was blocked and it is likely that the use of the whole tower changed at this time from one occupied by the priest alone, to an integral part of the function of the church, housing the bells (S5).

Sources/Archives (5)

  • <S1> Bibliographic reference: Pevsner N & Radcliffe E. 1974. The Buildings of England: Suffolk. 493.
  • <S2> Bibliographic reference: Cautley H M. 1975. Suffolk Churches. 368.
  • <S3> Unpublished document: Bayliss A, Ramsey C B, Hamilton D and Plicht J. 2006. Radiocarbon Wiggle-matching of Second Floor of the Bell Tower, Church of St Andrew, Wissett.
  • <S4> Unpublished document: Bridge Dr M, English Heritage. 2004. Tree-Ring Analysis of timbers from the tower, St Andrew's church, Wissett. Suffolk.
  • <S5> Unpublished document: Gill, D. 2010. Archaeological Survey Report: Tower Survey, St Andrew's Church, Wissett.

Finds (0)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (2)

Record last edited

Mar 1 2016 11:32AM

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