About Us

St Edmund's is one of six churches which make up the Somerleyton Benefice, and it's age is unknown. However, the Saxon architectural features and the strong link with King Canute indicate that it is over 900 years old and may have royal origins. Originally thought to have been just a wayside chapel, formed by the Saxon apse; the chancel and the nave were added at later dates with a separate tower. In 1350 the nave was widened, but only on the south side so the chancel arch is off-centre. The church is dedicated to St Edmund who was martyred by arrows in 870 A.D. There are some remaining mural paintings in the church. Scroll work in the apse dating to the 12th century, scroll work and figures of St John the Baptist and St Christopher in the nave from the 14th century. The Holy Table and the pulpit are Jacobean, the three decker pulpit is unusual – the lowest level for reading lessons, the middle level for conducting the service and the upper level for preaching the sermon. The east window is the only existing original window, the glass was destroyed in the time of Cromwell, and the window blocked up. This was restored with fragments of the original  included with new glass by Major Cubitt the patron of the church in 1855.The font carved in the Norman style was also erected at this time.

The chancel stalls are 13th century and the pews In the nave 19th century. The screen dates from 1300- 1375 and contains wheelwork tracery. It has undergone restoration. A 12th century sarcophagus is now in the vestry, and there is a stone coffin in the porch. The roofs of both chancel and nave are thatched with Norfolk reed. There is a 12th century stone cross on the eastern gable originally from the Bishops residence in Thorpe.

More details of the features of this East Anglian gem are in the guide, copies of which are in the church.