St Mary
 
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1  After climbing the long lane from the Village, often quoted at the prettiest village in Suffolk, this view of the church greets you.

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2  The present Manor House, seen to the left and behind the church, was constructed in 1706 on the foundations of the old mediaeval structure, the vaulted stone ceilings of which remain in the cellar. The Manor was owned by the Stuteville family from 1416 until 1696, many of the first-born being called Thomas.

The Affleck family then took over ownership and occupation, the imposing obelisk against the south wall of the tower (3) being that of Sir James Affleck who died in 1833. The Dalham estates were purchased by Cecil Rhodes in 1900, but never occupied by him, and then passed to two of his brothers. It is now owned by the Philipps family.

This is the second church to have occupied the site, the older Saxon church being referred to in Domesday as "One Church with 40 acres of land and half a plough team, value five shillings . . . " The 40 acres still exist, across the valley as seen from the church door, and is known as The Church Ley.

 

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3 & 4   The tower, now constructed from flint rubble with ashlar dressings, as is the church, is a most imposing structure, was originally built in the 15th century to replace an earlier 14th century tower. However, what is now seen is the 1625/26 rebuild, in a strong Perpendicular style which matched the old church, the two previous structures having become unsafe. It was built and "re-edified" by Sir Martin Stuteville, who also supplied the crenellations and the superscriptions around the parapet on all four sides:

Keep my Sabbaths
Deo Trin Unum Sacrum
Reverence My Sanctuary
1525

The wooden steeple which originally surmounted this tower was blown down the night Oliver Cromwell died (3rd September 1658) and never replaced.

 

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5   An inscription, in suitably florid language, records the fact over the tower arch
that a sum of 400 was donated and partly raised by Sir Martin Stuteville
for its reconstuction and re-edification.
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6   The west end, where once there was a west gallery. This is known to have been provided in the 18th century, as were three horse-box pews The gallery and the pews were removed in 1866. 

7   A view of the east end of the church. The original 15th century window was replaced by one designed by Sir Reginald Bloomfield, and is filled with glass attributed to the Kempe workshops. 

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8 & 9   A delightful find in the north aisle is this Georgian finger and barrel organ, given to the church sometime before 1849. It is dated 1833, but the maker is unknown, nor the contents of the barrels, if they still exist.  The church guide states that it has been strengthened and fully restored. It remains the only form of musical instrument in the church. It has five stops, and the keyboard spans five octaves.

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10   One of the several text boards in the church, this one in the north aisle. 

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11   This Royal coat of arms is above the north door and is that of George III

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12 & 13 The pews with their delightful carved animals were installed in 1866 when the box-pews and gallery were removed.

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14   Above the Chancel arch was the usual Rood, here with a small gallery. The painted panels either side of the choir are the remains of the front of that gallery.

Much use of the Church guide has been made in the preparation of these notes. 

Dove's reference for the bells:

Now eight bells, the former semi-derelict ring of five having been augmented and then rehung by members of the Suffolk Guild of Ringers.

ACCESS
Map reference : 

MAP
St Mary, Dalham, can be found on the hill above the village, off the B1085 Fordham to Clare road. Turn up the hill by what looks like an old kiln, but which is said to be a hopbine, that is for drying hops. The church was unlocked at the time of our visit.

Photos 2003 Edwin Macadam

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This site has been constructed by, and remains the copyright of, its authors,
Edwin and Sheila Macadam,

Shelwin, 30, Eynsham Road, Botley,
Oxford OX2 9BP
July 2001 -