Long Melford Church, Suffolk

Long Melford is another of Suffolk’s mighty wool churches, although it isn’t the largest, it is one of the most uniform with the vast majority dating from the mid-late 1400s. A church existed here before, but all that remains of that are five bays of arcading in the nave and look to date from around 1350. Work began on building a new church – one so massive it is bigger than several cathedrals – around 1456 and continued until 1484 when the majority of the work was completed. The Lady Chapel followed in 1496 along with the Clopton Chapel a couple of years after that. It is unclear whether this church had a tower, but it would seem likely.

The church is renowned amongst architecture fanatics for its flushwork, along side some surviving medieval stained glass at the east end. Next to the church is the Hospital of the Holy and Blessed Trinity which dates to 1573 and was founded by William Cordell, a local wool merchant.

The tower on the church was rebuilt using brick after the original was destroyed by lightning in 1710, the rebuild being finished in 1725. Representations of that tower show a stubby and rather unattractive addition, so it is with some relief that it can be said a new, elegant and spectacular tower was added in 1903 to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria (somewhat belatedly).

Photo - Andrew J. Müller

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