Higham St Stephen

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What you need to know about this church

St Stephens Church Higham

Where to find this church

Church Information

St Stephens church is located in Higham, a village in Suffolk just to the south of the A14 main road halfway between Bury St Edmunds and Newmarket.

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Higham St Stephen church
Church from south-west
Higham St Stephen church
Porch

Visiting Higham St Stephen

It is not often that there is a definite date for the building of the church and the tower, but St Stephen’s of Higham was new built in 1861, at a cost of £3,600, to serve the people of Higham, which had formerly been a hamlet of the Parish of Gazeley. The chosen architect was Sir George Gilbert Scott, R.A., 1811-1878, who was a well known High Victorian Gothic Architect. The Church was built in the Early English (geometric) style of the 13th century, and was made of flint and Ancaster stone. The tower has two bands of plain stone round at the sill level and at the springing of the arch of the ground floor windows, which have black flint and white stone relieving arches round their tops.  Similar bands of stone go all round the nave, the north aisle and vestry, and the chancel, and all the windows have the same relieving arch. In addition, there is a stone base-course all round the building. There is an integral stair turret to the south-east of the tower adjoining the nave. Higher up the tower is a flat stone string course and then some slit windows before the string course on which the belfry rests. This has a series of twelve pointed arches, two blind ones between each of the four belfry openings, with a chequer pattern above. A short steeple rises within the plain parapet. There is a south porch.

Inside the tower there is a stone rib-vaulted roof over the Baptistry, with the ribs resting on stiff leaf capitals on shafts standing on heavy leaf corbels, incorporating a bird, a hound, etc. In the centre of the Baptistry is the 19th century stone font with a tub-shaped bowl resting on eight engaged marble shafts round the stem. The elaborate stone pulpit also has marble shafts, and includes the busts of St Peter and St Paul. The aisle is separated by four arches, which have heads between the outer arches. In the aisle is displayed a Benefactions Board (listing donations for the poor of the Parish) for this Hamlet of Higham, dated 1855. There are more head stops to the chancel arch and many of the windows.

Conclusion: the youngest of the Round Tower Churches in East Anglia in the traditional style

Higham St Stephen church
Altar and east window
Higham St Stephen church
View into the tower