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 takeover. 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
Leiston Abbey (Minsmere), stands
immediately to the south of the Minsmere New Cut, not four hundred
metres from the shoreline and closer to East Bridge than Leiston.
This was the site of the first abbey of this name, otherwise known
as Minsmere Abbey. It was built here in 1182, but in 1363 it
was abandoned, probably due to its risk of being flooded on this low
plain, and most of the stone was robbed to build a new abbey, 4.5
kilometres miles away, at Leiston itself.
The Church of St Peter, Theberton, is
at the north-east corner of Leiston Road and Church Road. With its
ornate round tower and thatched roof, this flint building was
erected in the 1100s, with additions in the early 1300s and in
1483 when the south aisle was added. It was substantially restored
in the 1840s by Lewis Cottingham, although plenty of older traces
remain. A memorial also remains to some of the dead from a German Zeppelin airship
downed in 1917.
The ruins of Greyfriar's Priory, Dunwich,
lie between Monastery Hill and the coast, around 350 metres due
south-east of St James Church (see below), although this entire
section of land once belonged to the priory. The site was once the
western edge of the medieval town of Dunwich which has largely
fallen into the sea over several centuries. The priory was founded
in the mid-1200s, gaining this site in 1290. The Dissolution saw it
suppressed and soon ruined.
St James Church (Leet Hill), Dunwich, is
at the south-east corner of the St James' Street and Westleton Road
junction. It was built outside the western limits of Dunwich in 1832
in the grounds of the former St James Leper Hospital (see links). As
designed by Robert Appleton it originally had a round tower, but a
full refurbishment in the 1860s replaced that with a slim square tower
and encased the body of the church in flint to give it its present
Two photos on this page kindly contributed
by Louise Blake-Jeeves, with two by Sam Weller and one each
by Marie McAneany and Colin Mayes, all via the 'History
Files: Churches of the British Isles' Flickr group.