St Mary's Church, Bungay, Suffolk

Address: St Mary's Street, Bungay, Suffolk, NR35 1AX
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Brilliant carvings and a legendary beast

The graceful and elegant tower of this grand church, with its tall pinnacles, stands 33.5 metres high. It is a landmark for miles around, and the focal point of this market town.

If you look up as you approach you can see intriguing carved heads under the parapet of the north aisle.

Built in the late 15th-century as part of the church of the Benedictine priory on this site, St Mary’s remained the parish church after the priory was closed by Henry VIII in 1536. Some remains of the priory buildings can still be seen in the churchyard to the east.

In 1688 the church was badly damaged in a fire which devastated the whole town, leading to major restoration work on the church, which was then restored again in Victorian times.

Inside, the church is flooded with light from the plain glass in the windows, especially the west window, which is exceptionally large and wide and has an amazing display of tracery design in its upper half.

The splendid carving on the roof bosses are well worth looking at including angels, a lion, two-headed eagles and a splendid bat.

Other finds to look out for include a wooden dole-cupboard near the entrance which was given by the curate in 1675. This is where bread was left for collection by the poor - it has religious worthies and a perky rat carved on it.

There is also a fine 17th-century carved Flemish panel of the Resurrection in the War Memorial Chapel, a gift of Sir H Rider Haggard (author of King Solomon’s Mines) who lived nearby.

St Mary’s is also famous for the visitation of the Black Dog of Bungay – it appeared during a terrifying storm in 1577 and attacked the congregation.

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How to find us

To locate this church on a map, click on the 'View on map' link that appears below the address information at the top of the page.

Road directions

In Bungay town centre.

Public transport information

Nearest railway station: Beccles (4 miles).

OS Reference No.

TM 337 898

What’s on & news

News

16/07/14 Wendy Leaney impressed the judges with her skillfully sculpted creation made out of homemade lime and elderflower cordial

See more events and news

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All Saints' Church,  South Elmham, Suffolk

All Saints' Church, South Elmham, Suffolk
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St Olave's Priory

St Olave's Priory
The wonderfully complete 14th century brick-vaulted refectory undercroft - later a cottage occupied until 1902 - of a small Augustinian priory.

Somerleyton Hall and Gardens

Somerleyton Hall and Gardens
Heritage site

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Last year, we welcomed over two million visitors to our churches. If each person donated just £2, this would enable us to keep our churches open, safe and watertight for you and future generations to enjoy.

Close up of a mosaic at St Peter, Northampton

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What’s on at this church

The list below provides brief summaries of events coming up at this church. You can find out more about each event by clicking on individual event titles in the summary list.

Donate by text

Last year, we welcomed over two million visitors to our churches. If each person donated just £2, this would enable us to keep our churches open, safe and watertight for you and future generations to enjoy.

Close up of a mosaic at St Peter, Northampton

Text code 'OCCT05' to 70070 to donate now (free from all networks).

Or use the button below to donate online.

Donate online

Image gallery

Click on images to view larger

Donate by text

Last year, we welcomed over two million visitors to our churches. If each person donated just £2, this would enable us to keep our churches open, safe and watertight for you and future generations to enjoy.

Close up of a mosaic at St Peter, Northampton

Text code 'OCCT05' to 70070 to donate now (free from all networks).

Or use the button below to donate online.

Donate online

Useful information

Why not make your visit more enjoyable and informed by finding out more about this church and the CCT before you visit?

You can download a range of publications below including the relevant county guide, and any walk round guides we have for this church.









PDF iconSuffolk County Guide (PDF, 4.85mb)

This free of charge short guide contains details of all the churches CCT cares for in Suffolk. Printed copies of the county guide are also available at the church.

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All Saints' Church,  South Elmham, Suffolk

All Saints' Church, South Elmham, Suffolk A wildflower-filled churchyard South Elmham, Bungay, Suffolk, IP19 0PB
See church page

St Margaret's Church,  Hales, Norfolk

St Margaret's Church, Hales, Norfolk An astonishing little church lost in time Church Lane, Hales, Norwich, Norfolk, NR14 6QL
See church page

St Gregory's Church,  Heckingham, Norfolk

St Gregory's Church, Heckingham, Norfolk An entrance to remember Norton Road, Heckingham, Norwich, Norfolk, NR14 6QT
See church page

Nearby attractions

St Olave's Priory

St Olave's Priory The wonderfully complete 14th century brick-vaulted refectory undercroft - later a cottage occupied until 1902 - of a small Augustinian priory. http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/st-olaves-priory

Donate by text

Last year, we welcomed over two million visitors to our churches. If each person donated just £2, this would enable us to keep our churches open, safe and watertight for you and future generations to enjoy.

Close up of a mosaic at St Peter, Northampton

Text code 'OCCT05' to 70070 to donate now (free from all networks).

Or use the button below to donate online.

Donate online

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Donate by text

Last year, we welcomed over two million visitors to our churches. If each person donated just £2, this would enable us to keep our churches open, safe and watertight for you and future generations to enjoy.

Close up of a mosaic at St Peter, Northampton

Text code 'OCCT05' to 70070 to donate now (free from all networks).

Or use the button below to donate online.

Donate online

Community information for St Mary's Church, Bungay

 

All our Suffolk churches are in CCT’s South East region.

About the Friends of Bungay Church

Contact telephone: 01986 893563

Contact email: martinevans@lineone.net

Useful local links 

Visit Suffolk tourism website 

Suffolk Tourist guide website 

Family Days out in Suffolk 

Suffolk Local History Council 

Suffolk Family History Society 

Suffolk Churches website 

Suffolk Institute of Archaeology & History 

Suffolk Historic Churches Trust 

Suffolk is in the Diocese of St Edmundsbury & Ipswich 

List of churches in Suffolk

Donate by text

Last year, we welcomed over two million visitors to our churches. If each person donated just £2, this would enable us to keep our churches open, safe and watertight for you and future generations to enjoy.

Close up of a mosaic at St Peter, Northampton

Text code 'OCCT05' to 70070 to donate now (free from all networks).

Or use the button below to donate online.

Donate online

St Mary's Church, Bungay, Suffolk

Keyholder

If the access information for this church is listed as 'Keyholder nearby', this means that the key is kept by one of our invaluable volunteer 'keyholders', who usually live just a short walk from the church and can give visitors the key; sometimes this is a nearby hotel, pub, library, art gallery or other venue. You will find instructions explaining how to get the key when you arrive at the church.

Facilities

Due to the historic nature of our buildings, only a very small number of them have heating or running water meaning that they can be cold, and very rarely have toilet facilities. The lighting is usually operated via a 'push button' timer or a motion sensor. We do apologise for any inconvenience the lack of facilities may cause.