MuseumSt Mary's, Rickinghall Superior, Suffolk IP22 1EZ
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About the museum
St Mary's is a handsome church with a 14th century three stage tower and chancel, a broad 15th century nave, with magnificent perpendicular windows, and beautiful Victorian stained glass. One pane of glass shows Samuel Speare, an alter boy at St Mary's, who became a missionary aged 15 in Zanizibar. Having survived terrible conditions in East Africa, Samuel died in Lincolnshire three months after his return aged only 20.
St Mary's stands beside the B1113 to Stowmarket, just south of where it crosses the A143, which by passes the adjoining villages of Rickingham and Botesdale. Botesday, which has its own medieval chapel of ease, is in the parish of Redgrave, whose glorious church is now also in the care of The Churches Conservation Trust. The parishes of Rickinghall Inferior and Superior have shared the same priest for many years, although the old civil boundary between East and West Suffolk, once divided them.
Rickinghall Inferior's round towered church, which is now the parish church for the united parishes, stands in the valley about half a mile to the north and was always known as the 'lower' church. Rickinghall Superior church, situated at the north west end of its parish, on high ground and rather aloof from its population, was known as the 'upper' church.
Because Rickinghall and Botesdale had three Anglican churches within a mile of each other, St Mary's retired from full time parochial use in 1977. In 1981, it was placed in the care of what is now The Churches Conservation Trust.
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