The Parish Church of St Peter and St Mary
The medieval heart of Stowmarket lay around the Parish Church of St. Peter and St. Mary and in the area leading down to the riverbank. The town has many buildings listed by the Department of National Heritage as buildings of special architectural or historic interest and one, the Parish Church, is classified as being of “exceptional interest”.
The dedication is unusual and results from there having originally been two church buildings in the churchyard. The church of St Mary’s was demolished in 1544 and its dedication appended to the then St Peter’s. The surviving church is mainly fourteenth century, in the Decorated style. The great size of the church is a demonstration of the wealth generated in Stowmarket during the medieval era, largely through the wool and cloth trade. Unlike the famous south Suffolk wool towns, Stowmarket did not become a major centre for the manufacture of the finest quality cloth and the church is perhaps as a consequence not so ostentatious. Although its decline probably started in the late medieval period, the wool trade struggled on in Stowmarket in various forms before completely dying out in the nineteenth century.
Most uncommonly for Suffolk, the church had a spire in the medieval period; this was rebuilt in 1674, blown down in the great gale of 1703, rebuilt in 1712, taken down in 1975, and rebuilt in 1993 as a replica of the 1712 spire. The spire is timber framed clad in copper and is very rare in having a gallery within its height.
Address: St Peter & St Mary’s Church, Station Road West, Stowmarket, Suffolk, IP14 1ES
Tel: 01449 774652
The mission of this church is: “Growing in faith in God as revealed in Jesus Christ. Living out God’s love in witness and service.”
The five marks of our mission are:
• to proclaim the good news of the kingdom;
• to teach, baptise and nurture believers;
• to respond to human need by loving service;
• to seek to transform unjust structures of society; and
• to safeguard the integrity of creation, to sustain and renew the life of the earth.
Stowmarket Community Church (Elim)
Address: The Old Library, Red Gables, Ipswich Road, IP14 1E.
Tel: 01449 678017
Stowmarket Catholic Church
Address: Stricklands Road, Stowmarket IP14 1AP
Tel: 01449 612946