South Elmham All Saints

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What you need to know about this church

All Saints Church South Elmham

Where to find this church

Church Information

All Saints is a redundant church located in South Elmham, a village in Suffolk about 6 miles south-west of Bungay. It is in the care of the Churches Conservation Trust.

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South Elmham All Saints church
Church from south-west
South Elmham All Saints church
Porch

Visiting South Elham All Saints

All Saints in South Elmham is another favourite church of mine, especially because of its beautiful rural setting. Since 1978 this Church has been in the care of The Churches Conservation Trust. The tower has 12th century origins, but had major restoration work done in 1912, when the top 14 feet were rebuilt and the parapet added. Until 1830 it was a taller tower with an octagonal belfry, which had been added in the 14th century. Below the string course are six round-headed stone framed, narrow windows, with slightly taller ones facing N, W and S, with shorter ones between. There could be a blocked one facing NE, but this is where the 1912 stair turret is. These are at the level of the upper doorway, and could not have been belfry openings. There is also a small window facing west, lower down. The north side of the church has two 14th century traceried windows, but also some late 13th century cusped lancets (top row, 2 in nave, 1 in chancel) and some 12th century plain narrow windows (renewed, 1 each in nave and chancel). The chancel east window has 13th century intersecting Y tracery. The aisle was added in 13th century, and has Y tracery windows. It is as long as the whole Church as it also overlaps the chancel, with a series of small clerestory windows above in both nave and chancel. The porch was rebuilt in 1871, but still has a chequer pattern of stone and black cut flints for part of its faŅ«ade.

The window just inside the south door is filled with fragments of 15th century glass. The aisle’s east window has two heraldic shields. The font is early 13th century, with a square tapering bowl and a broad-fluted pattern on the sides, except the east which is zig-zag. Nearby are four 15th century bench ends with animals. The tower arch is wide with a round head and stoned-framed, dating from the 12th century. Above it is a narrower, smaller, but similar opening, for the upper doorway. The tower arch is filled with a screen of 17th century carved wooden panels. In the north-west corner is a small door to access the tower stairs added in 1912. There are two tall pointed arches for the south arcade in the nave, and two smaller ones in the chancel, but, in addition, another arch was cut through the wall in the 19th century between the two arcades to provide access to the aisle. The north-west window of the nave has two 17th century Flemish roundels showing St Dorothy and St Ursula, one above the other, with a 15th century fragment of a bird at the bottom.

Conclusion: open and welcoming pretty church in a rural setting

South Elmham All Saints church
13th century font
South Elmham All Saints church
Window