Church

A church was recorded at Little Waldingfield in the Domesday book (1086). This may well have been a wooden, wattle and daub structure. A Decorated (i.e. not ornamented, but in the Decorated style) stone church was built, probably on the same site in the 14th century - there are no records of what happened between the building of this church and the church recorded in the Domesday book.

Simon Knott writes on suffolkchurches.co.uk

"The classic Suffolk parish church is one rebuilt on a grand scale in the 15th century with aisles and a clerestory. The biggest and best of Suffolk's churches are like this. And so is Little Waldingfield, except that here the rebuilding was on a smaller, intimate scale. On the face of it, the church bears similarities to the great ship of St Peter and St Paul at Clare, especially with the tall roodstair turrets at the east end of the nave. The proportions of nave windows to clerestory windows recalls Long Melford, but the odd thing at Little Waldingfield is that the chancel was never rebuilt, and looks rather domestic next to the late medieval glories of the rest of the building."

The North red brick porch was built in the Tudor period when the village, no doubt, enjoyed the prosperity of the cloth trade. There are three brasses in memory of clothiers of this period.

"The interior is sympathetic to the outside! as if St Lawrence, in its quiet backwater, was forgotten by the restorers who scoured nearby Lavenham, Long Melford and Great Waldingfield. here, there is a smell of age and damp, the old stonework of the arcades and floors a lingering memory of the days they were new."

"The nave of Little Waldingfield church is a text book example of a late medieval structure, with aisles and clerestories on both sides, the eyes drawn upwards in the intention of Perpendicular architecture. The quiet simplicity of the chancel with its clear-glassed five-light window lets you appreciate this all the more. This simplicity extends into the nave; you feel that there is nothing unnecessary, nothing superfluous, no clutter."

There is evidence of blocked door ways, a squint, a former rood screen. There are also Piscinas and evidence of a sedilia. There is a circa 1300 bound chest and a beautifully carved 15th Century Chest. There is evidence of a possible chantry chapel probably established by a rich cloth merchant.

There is a 14th century font with some unusual carvings and a peel of five bells – three cast in 1612 and two in 1785. One of the most complete sets of records in West Suffolk for this church is held in the West Suffolk Records Office.

There is much to see and to understand and a more complete information sheet can be found in the church; to read the whole of Simon Knott's description and assessment of the church, as quoted above, please click on the link to go to our entry on the Suffolk Churches website: Link

View of St Lawrence and Church Road by David Lamming

St Lawrence in winter