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St Mary Magdalene Church, Suffolk

Located in Thornham Magna

Thornham Magna St Mary Magdalene by Simon Knott In the Doomsday book of 1086 it states there was a church shared by Thornham Magna and Thornham Parva. Historians believe Thornham Magna began its own church in the 12th century as a result of the manor of Briseworth, through a marriage, coming into the lordship of the manor at Magna.

The church was much restored during the Victorian period. At one time it may have had a thatched roof. The present hammerbeam roof dates from the 15th century. Norman stonework survives on the exterior north wall of the Victorian vestry. The church tower with its consecration crosses is 14th century.

Two heads are found on the 15th century porch arch. One supposedly represents Thomas Hemenhale, who was a bishop of Worcestershire in 1336. The other is reputed to be a Briseworth family member. A ‘green man’ is on the front of the porch. There are missing heads in other exterior niches.

St Mary Magdalene Church window by Barbara Ballard The 14th century chancel has some Norman features remaining. In the nave windows 15th century window tracery work is found. The font by the south door is Victorian while the one in the chancel is medieval. Also in the chancel is a 14th century piscina. Next to the organ in the south window are three Burne Jones figures created by Morris and Co.

Associated with the church is the nearby estate, Thornham Hall, owned by the Henniker family. There are a number of family memorials in the church.

Visitor Information

Church of St Mary Magdalene
Thornham Magna, Suffolk
West of A40 near village of Eye.
The church is usually open to visitors. Check the sign.

Thornham Magna church exterior courtesy Simon Knott at Suffolk Churches


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