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In Suffolk

July 23, 2012

The sun has shone and I have been enjoying plodding around the highways and byways of South Suffolk. There are some really lovely churches in this area, some of which get loads of visitors. So here goes…

Holy Trinity, Boxted – a small church with a sign on the door saying that it is open every day, but today it isn’t! A shame as this is reckoned to be well worth a visit. Image

St. Peter & St. Paul, Lavenham. ImageWhat can you say about this church other than wow! It is an incredible place and you can only wonder at the skill of the people who built it. It was open, as it is every day. The signs are good, with a very clear welcome to the visitor.Inside, I found a whole range of guide books. There are even free ones, both for adults and for children, that is excellent. Some of these are available in different languages. There is a children’s corner, with colouring etc. 108 people had signed the visitors book in the last month but this church must get many more visitors than that. There is a votive stand and a prayer book which is very well used. There are also prayer cards and a small collection of Christian books for sale. The selection is very good. There is also a folder giving details of those on the WW 1 memorial. There is also a second hand book stall. There is a lovely sign addressed to the visitor on the way out.Image

I would rate this church as very good indeed for the visitor and it is good example of how to take visitors seriously.

All Saints, Acton –  Unfortunately the church was locked. In all fairness there is a sign on the door which does say to ring the wardens and they will try their best to oblige, but time precluded me doing this. I expect that quite a few casual visitors would do the same. On the way out I noticed a sign hidden behind a wall which says ‘Church open 11-3pm’. I was there at 11.15. Subsequent information from one the wardens – the church is open when people can church sit as there have been some problems with theft and vandalism. I would rate this as OK though and this is a church well worth a visit. It is probably best to make some arrangements to visit. See for more info, including some nice pictures and a history.

For now, you will just have to make do with a picture of the outside.


Holy Trinity, Long Melford – another Suffolk gem. This was open and busy with visitors. The signage is good with a good welcome in the porch and the door. There are various guides available, prayer cards and various local history booklets. Again, a good selection. There is children’s corner set up but no guide for them. The Clapton Chapel is available for private prayer with a prayer book to enter prayers into. This is a really lovely space and is well set out.


There is again a Roll of Honour folder giving details of WW1 casualties. This is a very welcome development. There is a prayer tree and a votive stand to use. There are stewards on duty here who very very friendly – very important! These people are the face of the Church. Image

I would rate this church as very good and an essential one to visit.

St. Gregory, Sudbury– there are two  Anglican churches in Sudbury. St. Peter’s in the Market Place is now closed but used for exhibitions. St. Gregory’s is now the parish church. The signs outside are basic but there is a good welcome notice in the porch. Inside there was a good wedding booklet for couples thinking of marrying in church – a good idea worth copying. There is a children’s corner left set up. There is no guide book. There is a visitors book but there are no dates so this couldn’t be counted. There are quite a few visitors though. There is a votive stand to use and a prayer corner ( a very good one), with leaflets and prayers to use. A lot of thought has gone into this. There are also some good modern Stations of the Cross with an explanation.

St Gregory, Sudbury

I would rate this church as pretty good. It could do with a bit more of thought being given to the visitor.

One of the stations in St. Gregory’s, Sudbury

St. Mary’s , Kersey – this church was open with good signs. There is a free guide sheet for the visitor and cards for sale. More secondhand books! 39 people had signed the book in the last month. There is an open Bible and the previous Sunday’s intercessions are left on the altar which is a nice touch. I would rate this church as good.Image

St. Mary’s, Hadleigh. Another delightful Suffolk town with a magnificent church. It was open with very good signage and a clear welcome. Inside there are several local leaflets which give tourist information for the local area. There are guides -some multi lingual. Yet more secondhand books! To be honest, I am not sure what impression this gives. This church gets used for a cafe style service for youngsters so there is a couple of pool tables in there. There is plenty of room and it is good to see a church used for more than Sunday services. 34 people had signed the visitor book in the last month. There is an open Bible and prayer cards to take away. The prayer corner had a folder of suitable prayers to use – a good idea.  There is also a prayer chapel and a votive stand to use. There were copies of ‘What do Christians believe?’ by the Christian Enquiry Agency.Image

I would rate St. Mary’s as very good.

St. Mary, Polstead open with basic signs but a welcome in the porch. There were some good leaflets inside – ‘Introduction the to Psalms’ + Paul’s Letters, Mark and Luke’s Gospel. These are produced by the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich and are pretty good. There are 2 children’s tables out with colouring etc. There is a nice display of baptisms in recent years. There is a prayer desk with some suggested prayers in a book. Image

A lady was sunbathing in the churchyard! I would rate this church as very good.

St. Mary, Stoke by Nayland – this was open with basic signs. Inside are guides and post cards for sale. There is a clearly signed children’s area. 37 people had signed the visitors book in the last month. There is an unusual children’s memorial in the church. There is a history display, a prayer chapel to use and a prayer book, which is well used and prayed for. There is a display about the brasses in the church. Image

I would rate this church as good.

St. Mary’s, Bures This was open with basic signs. There is a guide and a booklet; ‘What happens here?’ again by the Diocese of St. Edmundsbury and Ipswich. There is a lending library and an unusual ‘Prayer Space’ with candles and prayer slips.Image

I would rate this as good.

St. Mary’s, Dedham – a very well visited church.The church is open and there is a bookstall with a number of cards, prayer cards, crosses and a selection of Christian books for sale. 260 visitors had signed the visitors book which gives an indication of how many people come in here. There are lights left on in the chancel. There is a votive stand and a prayer diary to take away. There is a rather strange room, more of a cupboard really, with a light on and a banner in it! I am not sure what that is for. There are laminated guides to use in English, Italian, Spanish, German and French. This is an interesting church to visit.


I would rate this church as very good for the visitor.

St. Mary the Virgin, Lawford – into Essex for this one. A lovely little  church down a small lane. It is open with basic signage. There is a very good selection of leaflets available – ‘A thoughtful walk through Lawford Church’, book marks, families, baptism, what’s on, Sunday’s and Weddings, all professionally printed and excellent resources. There is a prayer tree and a votive candle stand but these are well out of the way, which is a shame. Image

This is a good church for the visitor.

A good day in South Suffolk – more to come!


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