St Margaret of Antioch, Sotterley
Sotterley St Margaret of Antioch
Our church, St Margaret of Antioch, is situated in the park next to Sotterley Hall. It has Grade 1 status and was built in the 14th century.
Amongst the church’s fine features is the 15th century screen and some wonderful brasses. We have frequent visitors and there is a clearly marked footpath to the church across the park.
St Margaret’s is a favourite venue for local weddings and has easy access to the church with plenty of parking. We have one service a month but at Easter on Palm Sunday the other eight churches in our group join us in a procession through the park, pausing on the way for readings, before entering the church for a service.
We are a very small hamlet of 100 people. As well as the church there is a war memorial and a chapel which has services at Christmas, Easter, and Harvest Festival. It is well supported.
Our fundraising each year consists of the Hall gardens in February being open for the public to come and admire the snowdrops, and in May we have a fete and garden opening again. This is always well attended.
Shadingfield, St John the Baptist
The church building watches over the A145 road from Beccles to Blythburgh adjacent to a large car park. It has Norman origins with a 15th century tower, and a handsome Tudor brick porch. Inside, the font bowl is 15th century on an earlier base, and there are carvings, and fragments of medieval wall paintings.
The village of Shadingfield consists of some 60 dwellings, but the parish boundary with Willingham St Mary divides the main centre of population, and the number of people served by Shadingfield church almost doubles when that part of Willingham is included. The church of Willingham St Mary did not survive the religious upheavals of the 17th century, and although it has been officially joined with Sotterley since the 1800's, several residents worship regularly at Shadingfield.
Maintenance of the fabric is ongoing, and since the year 2000 we have repaired and conserved the Tudor brick porch, re-roofed the nave and chancel, replaced the pew floor and wall panelling on the south side of the church and redecorated the nave and tower room/vestry. A quinquennial inspection completed in 2022 identified the requirement for minor repair works only.
St Peter's, Brampton
St Peter’s Church is a landmark on the Beccles to Blythburgh road, sitting as it does on a small rise of land next to Brampton Hall. Built from the 12th century it is particularly beautiful in spring when it is surrounded by primroses. It has a famously long aisle and a pervasive sense of peace. It is never locked, and the visitor’s book testifies to the fact that people visit. The church is reasonably well maintained, and a part refurbishment of the electrical installation has just been completed. A small congregation attends services which are held just once a month.
Ringsfield, All Saints
Our Church is an attractive thatched church substantially remodelled by the Victorians with a capacity of around 100 people (with a bit of a squeeze). It stands in a group of eight houses which are just under a mile from the main part of the village. The fabric of the building is in good order with a Quinquennial Inspection carried out in August 2022. After seventy years the church is due to be re-thatched in May 2023 with plans to mark and celebrate this special occasion being discussed. A working party of church and non-church people have carried out extensive works in churchyard and adjacent wood with plans for further enhancements. There are four bells which are rung occasionally, and the church is supported by a group of “Friends” set up in 1950 following some national media publicity about a family of robins which nested in the lectern.
St Andrew's, Ilketshall St Andrew
St Andrew’s Church has served the rural community of our village since the early 12th century. It contains a number of features which are reminders of our rich heritage; these include a Norman doorway, a Royal Coat of Arms and related Garter Boards, a 16th century carved pew and an Ogee Arch among others. In 2001, while redecorating the church, several 12th and 14th century wall paintings were discovered and a grant from English Heritage made it possible to uncover a section of these unique paintings. This was widely publicised in the press at the time and has, and continues to bring, many visitors to our church. We have an open church so access to visitors is not restricted. We frequently welcome groups from Universities and Local History Societies and have sponsored several Heritage lectures.
St Margaret's, Stoven
At just under 750 acres and with only 32 dwellings, Stoven is the smallest village in the Hundred River and Wainford Benefice. St Margaret's Church is situated to the southeast of the village and is a Victorian restoration completed in the late 1850's. The building retains its original 11th Century Norman doorways, and because the village name is Anglo Saxon in origin it is possible an earlier church may have stood on the same site.
The church had been closed for several years with the then small congregation attending services at nearby St Peter’s church in Brampton. When, however, the threat of demolition was imposed on St Margaret's by the Diocese in 1996, the local residents came together to form a new PCC to try and save what was, and through their perseverance, still is an important Grade 2* listed building
St Peter's, Weston & Ellough
Weston is a dispersed village of approximately 100 houses and 250 people. There is no distinct village centre but houses are spread singly or in small clusters throughout the parish. The main industry is farming. St. Peter’s Church is a lovely, simple, quite plain small church which has stood for almost 1,000 years beside the River Hundred. It is blessed with one of thirteen surviving Seven Sacrament fonts in Suffolk and it is believed some of the characters representing the sacraments were damaged by a contingent of Oliver Cromwell’s men when they stabled their horses there. The church can seat around 100 people, has two services a month with 8-10 attendants but has large congregations on special days such as Easter, Carol service, midnight Christmas Eve service and quite a lot of large funerals and Weddings. We hope so much to keep the door open and represent the Lord Jesus both now and in the future. Funds are low and some repairs needed. There are few young people but we are determined to survive. We hold monthly coffee mornings in the church during the warmer months and hold an Annual Parish Supper and Quiz night in the Autumn. Weston once had its own historic pub, school and reading room, all long since gone. Without the Church there would be nothing to speak for us in the Community. We have been joined with Ellough, the next village, for many years now and we support each other where possible. The churchof All Saints at Ellough has been redundant for some years but we have an occasional service there (Easter sunrise, Ascension Day and Starlight Carols). We realise there have been big changes in Society over the last few decades and church attendance has declined but a Bible-believing hub is most essential to any place for its salt and light.
St Peter's Redisham
St Peter’s Church dates back to the 11th or 12th Century with its most notable feature, a Norman arch over the South Door. It seats about 60 people, making it one of the smallest in Suffolk. It is open every day until dusk, which is much appreciated by those who visit and leave positive messages in the Visitor’s Book. The churchyard is well maintained with a lovely display of wild flowers in the spring.
The Church has two Services each month at 09.30. On the second Sunday is Holy Communion, and Morning Prayer is on the fourth Sunday. In 2022 special services were held for Mothering Sunday, Easter, Harvest and Remembrance Day. At Christmas there was a very well supported Carol Service, followed by the Grand Draw and refreshments.
The church is also used for various fundraising events throughout the year, such as Coffee Mornings. A beautiful Flower Festival was held to celebrate the late Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in June 2022. The PCC is also involved in organising the village’s Summer Fete and Dog Show, and supports other events, such as the Snowdrop Festival at Gable House, which features a nationally important collection of snowdrop varieties.
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