This church is known for its beautiful setting with long views over the marshes and the remarkable remains of a medieval leper chapel in the graveyard
The churchyard alone is worth a visit if only for the enigmatic ruins of the 12th century chapel of the Leper Hospital. You can see how the hospital might have looked in the Middle Ages. Also standing in the churchyard is the buttress of All Saints, the last medieval church in Dunwich, its remains finally disappearing over the cliff in November 1919 to join seven other churches engulfed by the sea. Visit the Suffolk Story website to see how large it would have been.
But don’t stay in the churchyard. Go inside to admire the lovely oak carving of the bench ends, screen and pulpit as well as the impressive arch-braced roof. The marble memorial to Michael Barne was sculptured by Wm Behnes, sculptor to Queen Victoria.
How old is it?
On the site of the leper hospital, the original church looked quite different to the one you see today. Built in 1832, it was in white brick with a round tower and cupola and certainly not to the taste of the village’s great benefactor Frederick Barne who thought only a Gothic church was fit for worship. By 1881 he had clad the walls in flint, had the tower made square, and added a new roof, chancel and windows.
Both the church and leper chapel are open every day during daylight hours. The inside of the church is welcoming with a kitchen to make yourself a warm drink. The annual Flower Festival which takes place over the late May Bank Holiday weekend attracts visitors for miles around who come to admire the church resplendent with blooms, and of course the delicious teas. You can find out more about the Dunwich community.
St Felix was made Bishop of Dunwich in 630 AD.
The Downing family, of London’s Downing Street, were the main landowners during the 18th century and the proceeds from the sale of their Dunwich estate went to found Downing College, Cambridge
Dunwich showing All Saints church was painted by the famous landscape painter J.W.M. Turner. He captured the drama of its precarious situation.
Jock Horsfall, the great 1940s racing driver and secret agent lived in the village and you can see a headstone in his memory in the churchyard
Dunwich itself is famous for its ‘lost city’ status.
Dunwich Museum is just a step away and documents the colourful history of this ‘rotten borough’
The remains of the 13th century Franciscan Greyfriars Monastery are close at hand. A lovely five-mile National Trust walk includes the site.
This is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and there are stunning woodland, heath and beach walks all around.
The RSBP’s Minsmere Reserve and Dunwich Heath and beach are a short drive away.
Food and Drink Available Locally