Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Exploring Historic Churches on Self-catering Holidays in Suffolk

blythburgh church, self-catering holidays suffolk

Self-catering holidays in Suffolk offer the perfect opportunity to explore the county’s history. During your visit, you will find plenty of ancient buildings to discover. This includes a host of spectacular churches which are close to Windmill Lodges, so you won’t have to travel far to enjoy their unique atmosphere.

Here is a guide to some of our favourites, which you might like to visit during a stay at our log cabins at Saxtead in the Suffolk countryside.

Framlingham St Michael’s is the parish church of this historic market town. It is open daily from 8.30am. There is a children’s group, choir and a singing group with a small band. This community church has been at the centre of the town’s life since medieval times, and has a Chancel arch dating back to the twelfth century. St Michael’s has royal connections and was previously part of the Duke of Norfolk’s estate, so you will find some magnificent tombs there. This church has many special features, such as the sixteenth century roof with its intricately carved wood, and items from some of the famous battles in British history, such as when Henry VIII’s army beat the Scots at Flodden in 1513.

Blythburgh Holy Trinity stands on a site dating back to 630 AD. It is sometimes called the Cathedral of the Marshes due to its location on the Blyth estuary, and in 1087 it was considered one of the richest of all the Suffolk churches. This church is a considerable size, due more to the prosperity of the area than the number of worshippers. There are legends and artefacts here, including the nave roof, and tales of a ghostly black dog called Black Shuck from the sixteenth century. If you visit during the Aldeburgh Festival, you will find that some of the concerts are held here.

Walberswick St Andrew’s Church is one of Suffolk’s most striking ruins. Within the ancient walls, you will discover a smaller church, which was built in the seventeenth century. Here you will find memorials to sailors who have been lost at sea, and a rescued stained glass window from the original church ruins. You will find this building easily accessible. It is very rarely closed, and is within walking distance of both Dunwich and Blythburgh.

Saxtead All Saints Church is a typical parish church, made in the traditional Suffolk style, having lots of niches and flushwork. This fifteenth-century church has fragments still encompassed within the restored building which date back to the thirteenth century. As with many of Suffolk’s churches, there are items from different periods, here including a seventeenth-century communion rail and holy table. Outside the church there are stocks and a whipping post, and the whole place is surrounded by large old trees dotted around ancient graves of Suffolk families.

Dennington St Mary’s Church is another parish church with plenty to see. This church has the Bardolph Chantry at the east end of the south aisle, while the north chapel is for quiet prayer. The Bardolphs were an important family who lived nearby, with William Bardolph being one of the hero knights of Agincourt who fought in the army of Henry V. You could take time to sit on one of the well-preserved medieval benches, with some truly stunning craftwork at the end of each seat.

Badingham St John the Baptist is twinned with St Mary’s Church and has retained certain parts of its Norman history. Standing on top of a hill, it has been noted that this building may be on a pre-Christian site, and could have been used as a defensive stronghold. The most striking part of this church is the porch area, which has some very unusual stonework in it, including a dragon and a woodwose – which is a wild man of legend who lived in the area.

These are just a few of the architectural treasures you can find in Suffolk, but not all the churches in the area can be visited. Some can only be heard, or so it is claimed. This is because the churches of Dunwich now lie at the bottom of the sea, after disappearing beneath the waves forever. Some say the ghostly bells can still be heard on quiet evenings, chiming from under the water. These famous hidden relics are detailed in the Dunwich Museum, which is open daily from April to September. Entrance is free but a donation is much appreciated to contribute to the upkeep, and most of the churches you visit will operate the same policy of visitor generosity.

All these fascinating places can be visited during your self-catering holiday in Suffolk, while staying at Windmill Lodges. From your log cabin, you will be able to explore and enjoy these wonderful places, amid the sights and sounds of the beautiful countryside. Click here to check lodgeavailability.

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