Church Of St Mary

14 Nov 2000
Church Of St Mary, Great Bealings, Suffolk Coastal, Suffolk
Photograph (Digital)
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This information is taken from the statutory List as it was in 2001 and may not be up to date.

GREAT BEALINGS TM 24 NW 4/65 Church of St Mary 16/3/66 G.V. II* Church. C16 and C19. Rubble flint with ashlar dressings and brick with a plain tiled roof. Western tower, nave, chancel and north-western porch.

Tower: slightly projecting plinth which dies back via a moulded offset.

Diagonal buttresses which have flushwork panels of quatrefoil pattern at plinth level and chequerboard and tracery patterns above. Two offsets with brattished cresting which cause the buttresses to die back into the corners of the tower. North face: string courses at the level of the buttress offsets. On the lower of these rests a canopied niche with flanking crocketed pinnacles. Belfry opening above resting on the upper string course of 2-lights with cinquefoil heads and flattened quatrefoil to the apex. Further string course below parapet with central gargoyle. Parapet with stepped battlements decorated with flushwork tracery patterns. Bases of pinnacles, now reduced, to the corners. Southern face: similar save that it has no lower string course or niche. West front: central 3-light window to ground floor level with reticulated tracery of C19 date, possibly repeating an earlier pattern. Two-light window with louvres above this with chamfered ashlar surround. Similar belfry opening to those on northern and southern fronts. Eastern face: abuts the nave to its lower body but has a belfry opening and parapet similar to those on the other fronts. Nave: north face: at right is the Seckford porch of c.1520 and English bond brick. Octagonal buttresses to the corners with offsets of moulded brick. Northern face: central 4-centred archway with richly moulded ashlar surround and hood mould. Ashlar panels to the spandrels carved with coats of arms, now weathered. Above this is a further ashlar panel with moulded brick surround running the width of the front, now indecipherable but formerly reading ORATE PRO AIABS THOME SECKFORD ARMIGERI ET MARGARET UXORIS (Cautley). Above this is a canopied niche with moulded miniature buttresses at either side having crocketed pinnacles.

Battlemented parapet above with ashlar coping. Surmounting the octagonal buttresses are a pair of stone carvings of winged angels of early C16 date, that at right now much weathered, that at left holding a prayer book. The sides of the porch have arcades of flushwork tracery to the plinth and each has a central window of two lights with 4-centered head and chamfered brick surround. To left of the porch is a late-Perpendicular window with brattished, stepped transoms, some of the tracery being replaced in the C19. At left again is a lancet light. Buttress to extreme left with 2 offsets. South face of Nave: walling almost entirely rebuilt c.1850.

Three buttresses, that at extreme right having 3 offsets and a gabled top, that a left having ashlar panels carved with floral bosses. Left hand window of 3 Perpendicular lights replaced in C19. Perpendicular window of 2-lights to right of centre with flower ornament to the spandrels. C19 copy of this to right again and of less depth. Doorway to left of centre with chamfered surround and hood mould of C19 date. Chancel: Ridge of less height than the nave. North face: lancet window at right and priest's door to right of this with chamfered surround and hood mould. Decorated C19 window to left of 2 lights with quatrefoil heads and dagger quatrefoil to the apex. Eastern Decorated C19 window of 3 lights with quatrefoil heads and quatrefoils to the apex. South face: 2 Decorated windows with cinquefoil heads, that at right having a higher sill than that at left.

Interior: the interior of the porch has a hammer beam roof of 2 bays, the wall posts springing from floral bosses and the hammer beams have rounded ends. Connecting the two are arched braces which have carved foliage and coats of arms to the spandrels. Four-centred arched braces connect the hammer posts to the heavily moulded cambered collar beams and there are moulded purlins. The upper portion of the central truss appears to have been replaced. Heavily moulded, deep cornice at either side. Doorway to the church has moulded surround with hollow chamfer and wave mould and hood mould above. At either side are blank ashlar shields in relief. The double doors between are heavily moulded and divided into traceried panels containing simple linen-fold panelling. The central closing stile is attached to the right hand door making it wider. This stile and the two hanging stiles have canopied niches containing image stools on which stand figures of female saints or angels with splayed hands. At the level of the springing of the arch runs a deep band of sinuous ornament above which are a series of maces, those to the side curving inwards with the arch. Nave: roof of common rafters with collars and angle braces. Panelling before the ashlar posts with moulded cornices above and below which have brattished enrichment. Series of fine decorated benches mostly carved c.1845-50 by Henry Ringham but following the pattern of and incorporating portions of C15 benches none of which now survive in a complete state. The bench ends have poppy head finials and buttressed arm rests with decorative finials showing eagles, dogs, the pelican in her piety etc. Octagonal Jacobean pulpit with arched panels to the sides with jewelled rustication and dentilled cornice. Panelled back supporting sounding board with carved panels, dentilled cornice and acorn pendants at the corners. The base and the extension of the back panelling are the work of Ringham as are the reading desk and lectern in a Jacobean style. Octagonal C13 font with shallow, paired, recessed arches to each face of the bowl. Central, circular shaft, also 8 subsidiary shafts to the angles which may be of later date. Chancel: similar roof to that of the nave. Choir stalls by Ringham, incorporating no earlier work and with finials to the ends representing the crests of prominent local families. Wall monuments: to Thomas and Margaret Seckford, 1583 of ashlar, south nave wall, central rectangular metal panel bearing coats of arms with architectural surround.

To either side are paired Doric pilasters with cabling to the lower bodies, standing on panelled plinth. Correct entabulature above. Inscription to the central frieze and lateral metopes. Pediment above with coat of arms to the tympanum. To John and Anne Clenche c. 1629, alabaster, south chancel wall. Central rectangular aedicular surround of white alabaster containing 1/2-length busts of John (right) and Anne (left) with clasped hands and prayer books set before them standing on edge. Black marble square pillars at either side. Rectangular panel below this containing figures of 4 male mourners in 1/2-relief, all kneeling, those two at left with painted skulls to their right, a reading desk in relief at extreme right. Black marble apron below with inscription. Surmounting the whole are 3 coats of arms, 2 obelisks and 2 spiked balls. Black and white marble pavement squares to nave and chancel laid in 1792. The Southern chancel window has a lowered sill forming a sedilia to left of which is a piscina which has an opening of one halved arch to the reveal and a full arched opening to the chancel. Colonette to corner with moulded base and capital.

Ogee arches with cusps and hollow chamfered surrounds to the arches.

Sources: Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Suffolk, 1975 H Munro Cautley, Suffolk Churches, 1982

Listing NGR: TM2309548864


This is part of the Series: IOE01/1295 IOE Records taken by R H MacMillan; within the Collection: IOE01 Images Of England


© R H MacMillan. Source: Historic England Archive

This photograph was taken for the Images of England project

People & Organisations

Photographer: Macmillan, R H

Rights Holder: Macmillan, R H


Ashlar, Brick, Flint, Rubble, Tile, Timber, Medieval Church, Tudor Religious Ritual And Funerary, Elizabethan Place Of Worship, Commemorative Monument, Commemorative