Wortham St Mary

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What you need to know about this church

St Marys Church Wortham

Where to find this church

Church Information

St Marys church is located in Wortham, a village in Suffolk about 3 miles south-west of Diss.

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Wortham St Mary church
Church from south-east
Wortham St Mary church
Font

Visiting Wortham St Mary

St Mary’s in Wortham is another favourite Round Tower Church of mine, as there is so much to see here. The upper stages of this early 12th century tower fell in 1789, and the top-most stage and roof have never been replaced. A bell now hangs in a perky 18th century turret on the west end of the nave. This is the widest round tower, with a diameter of 20 feet, wider than the original nave before the 14th century aisles were added! The north belfry opening has roughly dressed stones laid in 12th century fashion. The south one has later cusped dressed stone inserted, the east one is blocked by the bell turret though its inner arch is similar to the north one, and the west one is a gaping hole. Inside and out the flints are evenly coursed (in layers). There is a large hole where the west window was, and below this a Barnack coffin slab, probably 12th century, has been set vertically. This Church is memorable for the 15th century clerestory, six windows each side, with a horizontal band of flushwork panels. On the north side these are of various patterns, but on the south there are specific initials at either end. To the west are crowned St for saints, crowned T for the Trinity and crowned MR for the Blessed Virgin Mary. At the east end are a complex IHS, crowned MR and IHC (the outer ones being from the first three letters of the Greek word for Jesus). The chancel’s south priest’s doorway has a stooled niche above. To the north of the chancel is a two-storey sacristy, with a priest’s room above. All the windows are large 15 th century, and the aisles have brick parapets, while the south chancel has a battlemented stone parapet.

Just inside the door stands the 14th century font, with crocketted gables, fine tracery, heads on the angles below the bowl and a battlemented top. The organ stands in front of the blocked pointed tower arch. The arcades are 14th century. The nave roof has alternate arch braces and hammer beams, resting on head corbels. The pews date from 1893, with some old poppy heads.  Carved figures of various creatures are on the arm rests and have texts from Psalm 102 and 104 added. The north chancel door to the vestry is carved with extra pieces of carvings from screens, cupboards, etc. added.

Conclusion: beautiful church with the widest round tower of all

Wortham St Mary church
View into the tower ruin
Wortham St Mary church
Bench end