A brief history of the first Westley church

The remains of Westley’s 12th century medieval Church of St Thomas a Becket (also known in earlier times as St Thomas of Canterbury) are situated at the end of Old Church Lane.

The Norman south door of the nave and arch, with supporting round columns, can be dated to around 1150. The church saw many improvements, with windows, a new bell and a painted nave roof with suns and moons.

Severe storms in both 1744, when the steeple fell down, and again in 1780, were mainly responsible for the steady decline in the state of the building.

In 1815, the Churchwardens were instructed to repair the foundations, make a proper water table, raise the seats, and improve ventilation.

In 1828 the whole building was recorded as being in bad repair, very damp and much neglected. Finally, in 1834, the building was closed, being beyond repair.

The old churchyard, which remains consecrated ground, is maintained by the PCC with the support of wonderful village volunteers. With views across the fields towards Ickworth, it is place of tranquillity, ideal for quiet reflection.  The remains of the church of St Thomas a Becket are a Heritage Category Listed Monument, Grade II (listed entry: 1187011).

St_Thomas_a_Beckett_church_ruins, JPG