Cavendish, St Mary the Virgin
The church is in one of the prettiest settings of any in Suffolk with half-timbered, thatched cottages clustered round it. The handsome exterior reflects the great wealth of the Middle Ages with its impressive stair turret on the 14th century tower rising above the battlements.
Light pours in through the vast east window and in the nave is a lavish 16th century gilded altarpiece of the crucifixion. The 19th and 20th century glass is high quality and there’s an elaborate tomb for Sir George Colt who died in 1570.
The priest would have had a room in the tower with a window looking on to the high altar. He had a fireplace for which a chimney can still be seen at the top of the tower.
How old is it?
A Saxon church stood on the site, then a Norman church; another church was started in the 14th century and in 1381 Sir John Cavendish built the chancel. The north aisle, nave arcade and clerestory were added in the 15th century and the Victorians had another go in 1862.
The inspirational Sue Ryder set up a charitable foundation at her mother’s house in the village that became home to people with physical and mental disabilities. She married Leonard Cheshire who founded the Cheshire Homes and the couple lived in Cavendish.
Sir John Cavendish was Chief Justice of the King’s Bench in the reign of Richard II and beheaded during the Peasants Revolt of 1381.
The parish of Cavendish is committed to the safeguarding of children, young people and adults. We follow the House of Bishops guidance and policies and have our own Benefice Safeguarding Officer. The Diocese of St. Edmundsbury & Ipswich’s safeguarding pages contain vital links and information including contacts for the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor (DSA) who advise our Benefice Safeguarding Officer. If you are concerned that a child or adult has been harmed or may be at risk of harm please contact the Diocesan Safeguarding Advisor. If you have immediate concerns about the safety of someone, please contact the police and your local authority Children or Adults Service.