Wissett St Andrew

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What you need to know about this church

St Andrews Church Wissett

Where to find this church

Church Information

St Andrews church is located in Wissett, a village in Suffolk about 2 miles north-west of Halesworth.

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Wissett St Andrew church
Church from north-west
Wissett St Andrew church
North doorway

Visiting Wissett St Andrew

St Andrew’s in Wissett is another church we haven’t seen in the sunshine yet, and on our last visit, it was pouring down with rain, so that we were not able to take proper photos of the exterior. Therefore, we have to visit this church again. With 12th century doorways, dressed stone quoins, rounded stone tower arch and double-splayed circular openings, there is no doubt that much of the nave and the tower belong to this period. The tower is circular all the way up, with four pointed belfry openings in the part that was raised in the 15th century. The battlemented parapet was also added at this time. Below the belfry there were four round double-splayed blocked openings, but the north one has now been opened again. In the stage below are three stone-framed round headed slit windows. The ground floor west window is a later insertion as can be seen by the smaller stones packed round the frame to make it fit. There are fillets infilling the awkward gap between the straight wall and the curved wall of the tower. The north nave has a fine 12th century doorway, with billet moulding going right round the arch and down the jambs. The arch also has scallop mouldings and chevron patterns. It stands on two spiral shafts each side, with volute capitals. The nave now has large 15th century windows, though there is a hint of the earlier quoin being to the west of the eastern window, in other words the nave has been lengthened. The chancel was added in the 14th century, rebuilt in 1837, and the east wall needed rebuilding again in 1988. The south porch entrance front has a gable cross, above a niche flanked by blank shields. The square hood mould over the arch encloses shields showing E the Instruments of the Passion and W the Trinity symbol. The south doorway is not as elaborate as the north one (perhaps the main door in those days?), but it has twelve heads in its outer arch moulding. Some have pointed ears, some round ears, one is muzzled, one has prominent teeth and one is a “beak” head. There is also a roll moulding and one with beading.

The 12th century round-headed stone tower arch has a doorway cut into its east/west wall on the south. This was cut through to provide access to the stairs, added into the depth of the wall and the fillet, probably in the 15th century? The 15th century font is a lion font with four seated lions and four wodewoses (wild men) round the stem. The bowl has the four Evangelists’ symbols, E winged man (Matthew), S lion (Mark), W eagle (John), N bull (Luke). The alternate panels have angels with blank shields, except for SE three chalices. The nave windows contain some medieval glass fragments. The middle one on the north has Norwich glass of 1450-70, including St John the Baptist (with his pointing finger) and his feet, a complete kneeling feathered angel and two angel heads. On the south side the east window has two canopies with fine eagles, and the middle one has the 14th century half-figure of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Conclusion: 12th century open village church with fine north doorway

Wissett St Andrew church
15th century font
Wissett St Andrew church
View into the nave