Deep in beautiful rolling countryside, this remarkable church is the only one in Suffolk located in the middle of the village green
It has to be the point when you first see the church towering up magnificently from the village green. The dramatically ‘open’ setting makes the church look larger than it actually is, but this is a fine building and you enter through a lovely old 15th century porch with a castellated parapet.
The Domesday Book suggests a link with the Abbey at Bury St Edmunds and pilgrims may have paused here on their way to the shrine of St Edmund.
How old is it?
Nothing remains of the earlier Norman building – except the font – and what you see today is largely 14th and 15th century. This lovely church represents some of the finest workmanship during that period.
- The sturdy Norman font – over 800 years old! Find out more about the Normans.
- The carved and curious poppy head bench ends
- The colourful fragments of medieval glass in the east window
- Traces of a wall painting of the transfiguration of Christ above the east window
This is a church to make a beeline for, not only for its magnificent setting but for the wealth of interest to be found inside. The excellent guidebook on sale in the church takes you through the many fascinating features.
Cresslands Lane in the village comes from the Cressener family who once held the manor at Hawkedon. William Cressener married Margaret Lady Scrope whose father was half brother to Cecily, the mother of Richard III, Edward IV and George Duke of Clarence. Could this be why the arms of Richard III appear in the east window?
Read more about the Cresseners and their bequests in the church guide.
More fascinating stories in the guide relate to previous Hawkedon rectors.
- Stay for lunch at….The Queen’s Head pub, to the north of the church on the road towards Rede, or The Plough in Rede (1.5 miles) serves lunch and evening meals.
- The ancient market town of Sudbury is only 10 miles away and you can visit the house where Thomas Gainsborough was born in 1727 and see many of his paintings at Gainsborough’s House, now a fascinating museum and gallery.
- The historic village of Clare is just six miles distant. You can explore the River Stour by canoe with River Stour Boating taking you right through the Dedham Vale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty
Things to note:
Parking: If you arrive by car, you can park on the hard-standing in front of the barns, taking care not to block the farm entrance.
Disability: Access is over grass to the south porch. There’s a lightweight ramp in the vestry area under the tower and you may need to open both halves of the south door. Advance notice would ensure help is available for visitors.
Food and Drink Available Locally