Situated just east of the village of Wherstead,
Saint Mary's Church resides in a lush green meadow
surrounded on three sides by a well kept cemetery
of old tombstones. Some are hard to read but
others are well preserved. Looked for but
did not find any Merrill burials after a quick walk
through. It was explained to me that the salt air quickly dissoled the tombstones long before.
Services are normally held on the first, second and fourth Sundays of every month at 11:00a.
If you wish to see inside, this might be a good time to see the church in all it's glory.
Wherstead church is not seen from the high road, nor generally
from the village. It stands apart, near Wherstead
Park and "the Mansion," where the owners of
many of the broad acres of the parish have lived.
The church shows a mixture of Norman and Gothic architecture
and is believed to date, in some of its parts, from about
1100. It is built of small stone, mostly of a flinty
character, with gray sandstone trimmings, and have a red
tile roof. The square tower, ivy-grown, dating from
about 1400, contains three bells, one of which is about
five centuries old. The newest bears the date 1675.
The church is small, seating only 122 people." -
A Merrill Memorial, Samuel Merrill, 1928
(1983 reprint), p 49-50.
scanned from A Merrill Memorial
Wherstead parish church is dedicated to St. Mary. There
was a church there as early as 1086 (with 3 acres of free
land). The chancel was built in the 14th century. The
original structure was Norman with walls four feet thick.
The north and south doorways are also Norman. The main
structure including the tower is 15th century. In 1800,
a copper ball was placed on top of the tower as a landmark
for vessels on the Orwell. It was removed in 1902. The
tower has been restored with pinnacles.
There was also a monastery at Wherstead
but it's only known from documentary evidence It was established
ca. 1225 and is believed to have been united with the
Priory of Sts. Peter and Paul in Ipswich ca. 1528.
Suggest you try to get a copy of Goult,
"A Survey of Suffolk Parish History", Vol. 2
(East Suffolk: I to Y), SCC, 1990. It's got lots of ancillary
data about the parish." - Peter Wyant, Regina,
Saskatchewan, Canada (23 April 1999) Photographs
taken July 1987 by author.
Information Sources for St. Mary's Church, Wherstead
Rev. Geoffrey Clement
15 Denmark Gardens
Ipswich IP9 2BG
Mrs. Sandra Pereira
Ipswich IP9 2TB
Mr. G.W. Paul
Mr. K.N. Widdick
504 Wherstead Road
Ipswich IP2 8LN
Updated July 2011 with many thanks to Kevin Widdick.
is a second page with
more details of the church.
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