St Mary le Tower

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St Mary le Tower
Saint Mary le Tower church
The tower of the church
Location Ipswich, Suffolk
Country England
Denomination Church of England
Dedication Saint Mary
Spire height 176 feet (54 m)
Diocese Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich

St Mary le Tower is the civic church of Ipswich.[1] It was in the churchyard of St Mary that the town charter of Ipswich was written in 1200.[2]


Although medieval, the church mostly dates from 1860-1870, when it was rebuilt by Richard Phipson.[3] Rebuilding was funded by George Bacon, banker and philanthropist. St Mary Le Tower is mentioned in the Domesday Book, demonstrating that the site has been occupied by a church since at least 1086.[4]


The church contains a brass memorial on a chancel pier to H.A. Douglas-Hamilton, vicar from 1915 to 1925. There are also four brasses in the chancel floor.


The church has a large three-manual pipe organ, which has its origins in an instrument by Renatus Harris of 1690.[5] There was subsequent work by Henry Willis, Spurden Rutt and Bishop and Son. A specification of the organ can be found on the National Pipe Organ Register.[6]


The church was the first in Suffolk to achieve a tower a peal of 12 bells in 1865. With the addition of a sharp second in 1980, the current bells are all by John Taylor of Loughborough (except for No. 7, which is by Mears & Stainbank of London).


See also[edit]


  1. ^ official website
  2. ^ St Mary Le Tower, Suffolk Churches website
  3. ^ The Buildings of England; Suffolk. Nikolaus Pevsner. Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300096484
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ The Organ, its History and Construction. Hopkins & Rimbault. 1st Ed: 1855
  6. ^