Monument record STN 014 - Church of St Mary (Med)

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Church and churchyard of St Mary.


Grid reference Centred TL 8162 8761 (57m by 72m) Centred on
Map sheet TL88NW


Type and Period (3)

Full Description

A church was mentioned in Santon Downham in the Domesday survey, 1086.
This church lies within the diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, the archdeaconry of Sudbury, the deanery of Mildenhall. It has the status of a vicarage (S1).
The structure is chancel, nave, N porch and embattled W tower (S2). The chancel is basically C13 and Early English. The N windows are C13 and there is one Decorated S window. In the S wall, at the E end, is a small piscina. In the N wall is a plain C13 arched tomb recess. The arch of the priest's door in the S wall of the chancel has a dog-tooth moulding circa 1170. This arch has been moved from the N wall of the chancel where there is still carved work of the date of the arch. The priest's doorway is not moulded, the external angle is simply chamfered. The rood screen is very early C14, but the tracery may be later (S2).
The W half of the nave is the earliest part of the church. It has Norman doorways and partly Norman windows. The E half of the nave is C13. Both N and S doors are Norman, and have spirally ornamented shafts to the jambs and plain roll mould above. The S door has a curved Norman panel externally. The N door has a low C14 segmented arch replacing the original and a nicheabove. There is an animal carving over the S door.
There are traces of C13 colour decoration on the arch soffit of a window which formerly existed SE of the nave. The inner arches of Norman slit windows remain at the W end of the nave; the wide splays have been cut away to admit the wider C13 light. The nave walls are Early English. On the Nside of the nave was a Chapel of the Trinity; only the C14 arch, which has been infilled with a circa 1300 window to the nave and piscina remain. The church also had a S chapel which has also disappeared. Part of its pointed arch has been uncovered, as has a C13 wall painting of thin scrolls (S2).
The W tower is square, of flints, with a stone and flint panelled base. On the outside of the tower, the names of various local people are inscribed, dating the tower to the mid C15. The N porch is Perpendicular and contains foru early C15 bench ends and two benches with poppy-heads (S2). Underneath the floor on the S side is a vault for Lord Cadogan's family - see STN 017. In the churchyard, W of the tower, is the typical base of a churchyard cross (S2), which is Listed.
In 1893 the church was restored (S2).
Fitch mentions two coped Med coffin lids in chancel and one more in graveyard (S3). A further, mid C13 Barnack Stone coffin lid, was broken up and partially extracted during the digging of a new grave in January 1993. Details and sketches in file (S4).
February 1997: Visit by RDC - Nave has coursed flint fabric and is Norman (S5).
For LSax gravestone, see CRN 01854.
The graveyard extension, to the north, was opened in 1963. Since that time new graves have revealed a former turfline at 1 foot to 18 inches depth and a series of disarticulated human bones (occasionally small groups of skulls), together with occasional 'great' bricks (single sample in SCCAS store) and flint rich lime mortar at a depth of between three and six feet (Pers comm Andrew Kedar, Nov 2011). Also note C13 coffin lid (see above) from same horizon and location (S6). It seems likely this apparently re-deposited material results from early alterations in the church, possibly the construction of the Cadogan vault in the late C18th or Early C19th, or some earlier episide of works. The depth and age of the material and the fact that it occurs below an earlier turf line may be significant (and note an existing pit exists futher to the north that is now used as the cemetery dumping ground).

Sources/Archives (7)

  • <S1> (No record type): SAU, Suffolk Parishes, a guide to their archaeology and history, 1985-1985, Ms.
  • <M1> Unpublished document: Suffolk Archaeological Service. Parish Files. Parish file: (S5).
  • <S2> (No record type): SAU (Atkinson R G), Summary of documentary sources for churches in Suffolk, 1986, Ms.
  • <S3> (No record type): Fitch Canon J, The Church in the Forest (church guide), circa 1980s, 13.
  • <S4> (No record type): SAU, Pendleton C, site report, sketch.
  • <S5> (No record type): SAU, Carr R D, Observation Report, 1997.
  • <S6> Unpublished document: Suffolk County Council Archaeologcial Service. Site Report. Pendleton C (SCCAS), Nov 2011.

Finds (4)

Protected Status/Designation

  • None recorded

Related Monuments/Buildings (0)

Related Events/Activities (0)

Record last edited

Dec 7 2012 9:19AM

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