At the sign of the Barking lion...

Simon Jenkins' Suffolk churches

At the sign of the Barking lion...

 

www.suffolkchurches.com - a journey through the churches of Suffolk

 


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England's Thousand Best Churches

In his book England's Thousand Best Churches, Simon Jenkins awards stars out of a possible five to all his chosen churches. These are his ratings, and his stars, not mine!

He selected forty-one Suffolk churches. Forty of them are Church of England parish churches, roughly one in fifteen of the total in the county. There has been some controversy about the Suffolk churches chosen for the book. While Long Melford is certainly the most impressive church in Suffolk, some of his other choices look distinctly eccentric. The most glaring absence is Westhall of course, although the seasoned Suffolk church explorer might also wonder where Badley, Hawstead and Redgrave are, not to mention Stowlangtoft, Norton, Badingham, Gazeley, Iken, Hawkedon, Monk Soham, Ipswich Unitarian or Cowlinge, all of which are at least as good as the churches in his two star category, if not better. For many people, the best church in Suffolk is Blythburgh, and it is not clear what excludes it from being in the four star category at least.

In fairness to Sir Simon, he told me that Westhall was not accessible when he tried to visit it, and he only visited two thousand churches to whittle them down to a thousand, and these were chosen on the recommendation of friends. If he couldn't gain access to a church within an hour he didn't include it. I felt a bit sorry for him, as presumably he has a conversation along similar lines several times a day.

Remember, these are his ratings, and his stars, not mine.

*****5 stars:

Long Melford

****4 Stars:

Framlingham

Lavenham

Mildenhall

Southwold

***3 Stars:

Blythburgh

Bury St Mary

Clare

Denston

Earl Stonham

Kedington

Stoke by Nayland

Woolpit

**2 stars:

Barsham

Boxted

Bramfield

Dennington

Euston

Eye

Needham Market

Thornham Parva

Ufford

Wingfield

*1 Star:

Acton

Aldeburgh St Peter and St Paul

Bures St Mary

Cavendish

Combs

Hadleigh St Mary

Hessett

Icklingham All Saints

Kersey

Lakenheath

Landwade

Mendlesham

Orford

Polstead

Rattlesden

Walpole Congregational

Withersdale

Yaxley

 

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