Ramsholt All Saints
All Saints church is located in Ramsholt, a deserted village in Suffolk on the northern shores of the River Deben estuary. Today, only the church, a pub on the river and a farmouse remain. It is probably the most beautifully located of all Round Tower Churches.
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Visiting Ramsholt All Saints
Here we are at my favourite Round Tower Church in Suffolk, and probably my Number 2 of all of them: Ramsholt All Saints. First, it sits in a very remote but stunning position overlooking the River Deben estuary; second, there is the unusual outer appearance of the tower; and third – and most of all – the simple interior is exactly to my liking (as in my favourite Round Tower Church Hales St Margaret in Norfolk).
The late 13th/early 14th century tower is slightly oval and tapering, but this is exaggerated by the three hefty buttresses which were built with the tower and reach right to the top. The belfry openings are lancet shaped, made with stone frames and brick relieving arches. Brick is also used for the put-log holes (for horizontal scaffolding). As well as flints, the fabric also includes some locally found lumps of septaria, compressed clay from the river bed. The inverted V marking the former nave roof line on the east of the tower also continues across the east faces of the nearest buttresses. Because of the buttresses, (one facing due west), the placing of the three belfry openings and the ground floor window are unusual. The nave doorways are circa 1300, and many of the windows are of that time, with the east one having intersecting Y tracery. The nave and chancel are one width, though roofed separately, with the wall being rendered. The south porch is perhaps 17th century and has a brick lined entrance arch and three brick framed niches above it.
The tower arch has 12th century round-headed stone framing in the nave, but a taller pointed arch behind it. It appears that possibly the early tower fell and it was replaced around 1300. The 15th century font stands on an octagonal plinth. It has pointed quatrefoils round the bowl, containing seven blank shields and one Tudor (double) rose. A 13th century coffin lies in the north-west corner of the nave, which was unearthed to the north of the tower. East of the doorway there is a high back to the west pews, then the nave is filled with box pews from 1857. The pulpit is a two-decker one, a lower prayer desk with the preaching area higher up, half way along the nave (as was popular in the first half of the century). The box pews east of the pulpit face west! The chancel has a trefoil-headed 14th century piscina and a dropped sill sedilia, to provide seating for the priest, deacon and sub-deacon awaiting their part in the Mass Service.