SuffolkBLYTHBURGHHolyTrinity(spencermeansCC-BY-SA2.0)1 SpencerMeans

Holy Trinity

Blythburgh church is sometimes called the Cathedral of the Marshes, looking out as it does over the tidal River Blyth and the remnants marshes.

Blythburgh, Suffolk

Opening times

The church is open every day of the year from 9am to 6pm (or dusk if earlier).


IP19 9LP

An Augustinian priory was founded here in 1130, which probably accounts for the size and splendour of the church. In 1412 Henry IV granted permission for it to be rebuilt, transforming it into one of Suffolk's finest Perpendicular churches.

The tower remains from the earlier building. The exterior is an amazing mix of flint and glass, with intricate decorative stonework and carving along the parapets of the porch and south aisle. Set into the east end below the window are enigmatic carved letters. The two storey south porch has a modern sculpture of the Trinity, to which the church is dedicated.

Inside, the aged wooden roof, still with its original faded paintwork, stretches the entire length of the church. On it are the 12 famous wooden angels that are celebrated in Blythburgh's town sign. There used to be more, and some of those that remain have been repaired or renewed. One story tells that they were shot at by Puritans, trying to dislodge them. Shot has been found in some of the roof timbers, but this probably dates from the 18th century, when people were paid to shoot at the jackdaws who inhabited the church. By then it was in a poor state, and by the late 19th century the congregation sat in their pews under umbrellas as the roof leaked so badly.

Restoration began in the 1890s and continued for nearly a century, but was all done with a light touch, so that the church feels both ancient and loved, and without the 'scraped' and polished feel that many restored churches have.

The interior is light and airy, largely due to the clerestory windows which, like the roof, extend the whole length of the nave and chancel. The font has detached stone stools surrounding it which are unusual. It is a seven sacrament font, but the seven scenes that would have been carved on it have been entirely scraped away. There are marvellous 15th century poppyhead bench ends depicting the Seven Deadly Sins, the four seasons and the Seven Acts of Mercy.

  • Wildlife haven

  • Glorious furnishings

  • Fascinating churchyard

  • Famous connections

  • Captivating architecture

  • Walkers & cyclists welcome

  • Level access to the main areas

  • Church shop or souvenirs

  • Car park at church

  • Bus stop within 100m

  • Accessible toilets nearby

  • We hold a cafe and mini market community event on the last Friday of each month, from 10.30am to 12noon, everyone welcome for cake and a cuppa and a browse around the stalls selling local arts, craft and produce.

  • Every Thursday, Colin Hugget offers free tours from 11am and lasting around 45 minutes, visitors will be introduced to the angels, the robin, the masons marks, the 15th century graffiti and the real story behind the legend of Black Shuck, just turn up, children to be accompanied by an adult.

  • Church of England

Contact information

Other nearby churches

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