Wimbish, All Saints

The Church

All Saints Wimbish, listed Grade 1, stands in an isolated location outside the village in a large churchyard with a farmhouse (Wimbish Hall) to the south and the former vicarage to the north.

There was a priest here before the Norman Conquest, which suggests the existence of a church. The earliest fabric of the present building is in the nave, and dates from the twelfth century.

A north aisle added in the late thirteenth century and a north chapel added at the east end of this in about 1340. In the fifteenth century the chancel was rebuilt and the south porch added. The roof of the north aisle is dated 1534 and is attributed by John Harvey to Thomas Loveday, carpenter of Sudbury. The roof of the north chapel is also of the sixteenth century.

In 1740 the medieval west tower was destroyed by lightning and subsequently rebuilt in in a simple Gothic form, in brick, over the western bay of the nave.

The church underwent two major nineteenth-century restorations, the first in 1872 under W.O. Milne, who largely rebuilt the chancel, demolished a north vestry and removed a gallery. The second restoration was under Nelson Jones, who in 1880 prepared plans for the rebuilding of the tower one bay to the west, with the south aisle extended by one bay to the west of the porch. The porch was also largely if not wholly rebuilt.

The eighteenth-century tower was demolished but in the event its replacement was not built, the tower arch which had been prepared simply bricked up. These works were completed in 1883.

All Saints church is important for its surviving medieval fabric, notably the Romanesque/early Gothic work in the south elevation of the nave, the north arcade, the chancel arch and arch to north chapel, and the roofs of the north aisle, north chapel and nave. The screen to the north chapel, the brasses, the bells, the fragments of medieval stained glass and the Commandments Board are also important.

The Bats

Serotine, Natterers and/or Brown long-eared and Pipistrelle bats all shelter in the church. The largest accumulation of droppings is beneath an access point in the north chapel. There is also a slight accumulation near the grand piano in the nave.

The piano has suffered serious bat damage in the past, has been repaired and French polished, and is now covered.

Bats are likely to roost behind the timber beams of the roof and externally beneath the tiles. There is plentiful evidence of spotting from bat urine on the pews and on the encaustic tiles of the nave floor, particularly in front of the chancel arch, but no such evidence in the chancel.

As well as the piano, books and any soft furnishings are protected from damage.

Upcoming events

If you’d like to contact or find out more about the church, visit their page on A Church Near You