St Gregory's Church, Rendlesham, is situated
in the older part of the village, in the fields on the far side of the
village centre. The other side of the village looks out over the former
Bentwaters US Air Force base. Rendlesham was founded (or taken over) by
the invading East Angles in the sixth century, and became their early
capital. The village is close to an important East Anglian burial site
at Sutton Hoo, and the church contains an exhibition of some of the
findings from that site.
Given the importance of the site it is likely
that there was an early Saxon church here, but the current building
dates to the fourteenth century. The great tower probably predates
many of its grand cousins in Suffolk, and a later porch stands below
it. However, the church seems largely to have been built complete,
with very few other changes being made. One change has been the
thinning of Rendlesham's forest, which was badly damaged by October
1987's great storm.
St John the Baptist, Snape, is on the
northern side of Farnham Road, with the lane to Sternfield bordering
it to the east. It lies well to the north of the village it serves.
The first church here was Saxon, probably of wood, which existed at
the time of the Norman Conquest. The present, aisleless church was
built by 1240, at which time the earliest recorded incumbent, Sir
William de Rurcham, was appointed. The roof was originally thatched
and remained so for many centuries.
The west tower and porch were added in the
mid-1400s. The font was plastered over by Puritans about the same
time (until about 1830). The roof thatching was replaced by tiles
at some point after this. Battlements were also added later to the
tower. While the Victorians changed very little, the heavily buttressed
east wall was collapsing by 1920, so it had to be rebuilt. In 2000
improvements were made to the balcony and vestry and a new organ was
All photos on this page contributed by Louise