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Medieval Masterpiece

spireletRecords confirm that in 1277 there was a Chapel of Ease (which is a more conveniently situated church for some parishioners) in Needham Market linked to the mother church at Barking. This Chapel was the predecessor of Saint John the Baptist Parish Church. The Chapel may have been built as a place of prayer for pilgrims on their way to the shrine of Saint Edmunds at Bury St Edmunds.

The present building was built between 1458 and 1500 dating back over 500 years to around the time of the Wars of the Roses and early Tudor England. The building of the church was financed by William Grey who was Bishop of Ely from 1458 to 1478. His coat of arms can be seen in the exterior stonework above the priest’s door at the East end of the building.

roofroof-sectionThe chapel was built with a “hammerbeam” oak timber roof – one of the finest examples of English Gothic architecture. The hammerbeam was developed to overcome the problem of spanning wide spaces – the horizontal hammerbeams projecting from the walls are supported by arch braces and stone corbels. To look up at the roof is like looking down the hull of a ship. This roof was described by Munro Cautley, the great authority on East Anglian churches, as “the culminating achievement of the English carpenter”.

The porch with its ‘spirelet’ was added in 1883 by the Victorians to carry the clock and the bells that we see and hear today. The carved angels, to the projecting ends of the hammerbeams, were added in 1892 in memory of Major William Dods of Uvedale Hall.

angelThe current church was elevated to the status of the Parish Church of Needham Market in 1901 and is situated in the middle of town along the High Street. The church is open to the public daily, and has drawn visitors from all over the world to admire this unique part of english heritage.

Having stood the test of time for more than 500 years this rare medieval hammerbeam roof is now at risk. A recent inspection found the roof was leaking badly and the wood is being damaged by deathwatch beetle and wet rot. The Parochial Church Council of Saint John the Baptist Church in Needham Market is trying to raise funds for the project to carry out vital repairs to Needham Market’s medieval masterpiece. Please visit www.needhammarketparishchurch.co.uk to find out more.

Events Calendar

December 2018
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November 26, 2018 November 27, 2018 November 28, 2018 November 29, 2018 November 30, 2018 December 1, 2018 December 2, 2018
December 3, 2018 December 4, 2018 December 5, 2018 December 6, 2018 December 7, 2018 December 8, 2018 December 9, 2018
December 10, 2018 December 11, 2018 December 12, 2018 December 13, 2018 December 14, 2018 December 15, 2018 December 16, 2018
December 17, 2018 December 18, 2018 December 19, 2018 December 20, 2018 December 21, 2018 December 22, 2018 December 23, 2018
December 24, 2018 December 25, 2018 December 26, 2018 December 27, 2018 December 28, 2018 December 29, 2018 December 30, 2018
December 31, 2018 January 1, 2019 January 2, 2019 January 3, 2019 January 4, 2019 January 5, 2019 January 6, 2019

Contact us

TOWN COUNCIL OFFICE
Community Centre
School Street
Needham Market
Suffolk
IP6 8BB

Town Council Offices Opening Hours -
Mondays and Thursdays: 10am till 12 noon
(01449) 722246 Answerphone
Email us

Town Clerk
Kevin Hunter

Assistant Town Clerk
Kelaine Spurdens