A Brief History
The mediaeval church of All Saints dates back to the 12th century however, the presence of a church at Chevington is recorded in the Domesday Book (1086). It is more than likely that the early church was constructed of wood and this was replaced with the stone church we know today while the village was in the possession of the Abbey at Bury St Edmunds.
The exterior of the church tells the story of the many alterations over the years. During the 13th Century the nave was extended considerably and the 15th century saw the addition of the bell tower. The nave walls were heightened during 16th Century with the red brick crenelated parapets added. At around 1800, the then Marquis of Bristol instigated works to the tower to improve the view from Ickworth. The tower was heightened and ‘spiralets’ added, similar work was completed at Westley St Mary.
An interesting detail is found high on one of the south wall buttresses where you can see the remains of a mediaeval mass dial, a small circle of radiating lines have been cut into the stone, similar to a sun dial, which was used to indicate the time of Mass.
The interior of the church is beautifully light and open, only enhanced by the openings either side of the chancel arch which date back to the 13thCentury. The 15th Century bench ends are intricately carved with depictions of musicians playing a variety of instruments including the lute, cymbals, bagpipes, double pipes, shawm and psaltery (an ancient and medieval stringed musical instrument played by plucking the strings with the fingers or a plectrum).
Funds are currently being raised for new alterations which include improving the access to the church by removing the step at the entrance and the addition of a WC.
The Parish Church of All Saints, Chevington, A History and Guide by Frank Cooper, MA, BSc
Photographs by Mike Chester