King Charles the Martyr

Shelland1.jpg (71092 bytes)

The Church

This little church an be found down a small lane, not really large enough to take a car down, and far away from all major roads. The lane runs between Stowmarket and Woolpit.

Dedicated to King Charles the Martyr, it is one of only five which bears this dedication in England.  Originally there was a small chapel here, ca. 1330, but it was not until the time of the Civil War that it was rebuilt by Thomas Cropley and re-dedicated. It was virtually rebuilt again in 1767 for Richard Ray, the local landowner, whose coat of arms and date are over the east window.  The church was under his patronage, and he held the right to appoint whatever priest he thought fit to the living. 

The interior is pure 18th century, with a simple three-decker pulpit and box-pews. The Sanctuary is in the 'gothick'style, complete with flock paper forming a dado under the pastel green walls.


The Bryceson Barrel Organ at the west end of the church has three cylinders. 

It plays 36 different tunes, and was until the 1970s the only surviving instrument to have been regularly played every week in England.

Built by Bryceson Bros., ca. 1810. There are three barrels, each of twelve tunes. Overhauled 1956 by Noel Mander. There are 6 stops of 31 notes. Unusually it has a tierce. It is believed that the parishioners have ordered a fourth barrel, with more up-to-date dunes and harmonies.

The tunes are as follows (where known):-




Listed name Recorded name Listed name Recorded name Listed name Recorded name
Hotham, double   Morning Hymn   Evening Hymn  
Doncaster   Kent   University  
Easter Hymn   Portugal   St David's  
Old 100th Psalm   Portuguese Hymn   St James's  
Haydn's Hymn (eight lines)   Burnham 148th.   St Anne's  
Islington   Rockingham   St Stephen's  
Helmsley   Hanover, proper 149th.   Warwick  
Sicilian Mariners   Manchester   Shirland  
Falcon Street   New York   Peckham  
Weston Favel   Wakefield   German Hymn  
New Sabbath   Bedford   Hymn (sic)  
"Creation", (double)   Lincoln   Glory be to Thee, O Lord.  





Map reference : 

Shelland Church is on a minor road about 1/2 mile south of the A14 between Woolpit and Haughley picnic site.

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This site has been constructed by, and remains the copyright of its authors,
Edwin and Sheila Macadam, 30 Eynsham Road, Botley,
Oxford OX2 9BP
July 2001 -