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Church of St Mary The Virgin

   

Welcome to our fine mediaeval church, unusual among Suffolk churches, because it dates mainly from the 13th and early 14th centuries. Importantly, there are interesting wall paintings which are shortly due for further conservation as part of our ambitious restoration programme. (These paintings remind us that the walls were probably extensively covered with paintings before the Reformation.) We have a well maintained churchyard, remembrance garden, wild flower and meadow grass areas. Over 50 species of plants have been revealed following a recent survey by Suffolk Wildlife Trust.

 

The church is open DAILY. Please visit us and sign our visitors book

The porch is of the late 15th century, with image niches, Marian monograms and a dedicatory inscription in the flushwork.

St Mary is an old building, and the porch and Decorated windows should not distract from the fact that St Mary looked pretty much as it does now by 1300, when the tower was added to the existing nave and earlier chancel. The font remains from those days.

St Mary can seem gloomy as you step into it but this is a church of outstanding interest.

Firstly, and most famously, the wall paintings. They are in a fine state of repair. Most prominent are the 15th century figures of St Christopher and St George. St Christopher is familiar from a hundred other East Anglian churches. Virtually every medieval church had his figure opposite the south entrance. But this is a regal Christopher. St George is another fine figure, and a powerful portrait.

There is another figure, a knight on horseback, who appears to be forcing his lance into a dragon-shaped space. It may well be another St George. But it is older than the two larger paintings. It is a reminder that wall paintings in churches were successively covered and repainted as artistic fashions and devotional priorities changed and developed.

There is an excerpt from what appears to be a 14th century martyrdom of St Edmund. Troston is about halfway between the probable site of that martyrdom in Hoxne and the final resting place at Bury Abbey. These paintings are all on the north wall, but above them all, over the chancel arch, sits a 15th century Christ in Judgement.

In the chancel, St Mary retains the fixings for the Lenten veil. The woodwork behind the altar was probably the eastern parapet of the rood loft, a rare survival.

The 1964 east window is by Harry Stammers. It depicts the story of Emmaus, the unrecognised Christ walking along the road with his two companions, and then making himself known to them above at the supper table in the breaking of the bread.

St Mary retains its low-side window. Theories abound about low-side windows, but they were certainly intended to be opened for the sanctus bell to be rung at the consecration of the Mass, and were also probably a means of controlling ventilation. Uniquely in Suffolk, Troston retains the wooden shutter which the clerk would open to ring the bell, integrating those outside the building working in the fields with the whole community.

At the back of the nave is a curiously-worded early 20th century memorial to a Rector's wife who had passed over. On the benches nearby are the remains of carvings, including a figure kneeling at a prayer desk which might have been part of an Annunciation.

On the south side of the nave are the war memorials, with photographs beneath. Beyond, the huge pulpit and reading desk are at the east end of the nave. And then there is the royal arms, which have been relettered for George I, but are actually Stuart arms for James I, including his motto asking God to rise up and disperse his enemies.

Simon Knott has a  webpage about the church including a lot of excellent photographs.

To commemorate 100 years since the end of World War 1 'Tommy' silhoettes are being displayed in the church.