Bradfield St Clare

The church sits within a nearly circular churchyard, which may indicate it’s earlier use for religious purposes.

The church has been built, rebuilt, altered and restored over many generations. Most of what you can see when you look at the church is fifteenth century. However, there is some evidence to suggest that the nave walls may be Norman. The tower is fairly recent in comparison to the main body of the church, after it collapsed in 1873. The first mention of a church here appears in 1286, although there has probably been a church here for much longer, probably from the 1000s.

Nave – The present structure probably dates from the 11th century, 12th at the latest. There is a holy water stoup from the 13th century by the South door. The south-west window dates from the 14th century but all the others are from the 15th century.

The font is Victorian, as is the pulpit, lectern and oak benches.

The western arch now is boarded off to create the vestry and belfry. On the inner side of the tower arch are several worn areas where bell ropes would have worn away the stone.

Chancel – The chancel was entirely remodelled in the later part of the 15th century.

The south wall has a plain piscina. The east wall holds the Victorian painted Ten Commandments, Lords Prayer and the Creed.

Three 15th century poppy heads have been incorporated in the bench ends of the ?Victorian choir stalls.

Restoration – The church was restored in 1873 at a cost of £700.

On 6th April 1873, the tower collapsed after being in a dilapidated state for some time. The tower caused damage to the nave roof and the interior and pews at the west end of the church. ‘The owners of the pews at that end of the edifice may congratulate themselves that the catastrophe did not occur during divine service, as the sittings are now buried beneath the fallen materials.’ (Bury Free Press)

South Porch – What you can see dates from 1921.

Bells – There are three bells in the tower. Treble, 1500, defaced by the Puritans but reads ‘Sancta Maria Ora Pro Nobis’, made by Thomas or Reginald Chirche in Bury St Edmunds. 2nd, 1699, made by Charles Newman of Norfolk. 3rd, 1787, made by Thomas Mears at the Whitechapel foundry, London.

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