St Mary-le-Tower

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St Mary-le-Tower
Saint Mary-le-Tower church
St Mary-le-Tower Church Ipswich Suffolk.jpg
The tower of the church
St Mary-le-Tower is located in Suffolk
St Mary-le-Tower
St Mary-le-Tower
Location in Suffolk
52°03′30″N 1°09′19″E / 52.0584°N 1.1554°E / 52.0584; 1.1554Coordinates: 52°03′30″N 1°09′19″E / 52.0584°N 1.1554°E / 52.0584; 1.1554
LocationIpswich, Suffolk
DenominationChurch of England
DedicationSaint Mary
Heritage designationGrade II*
Designated19 December 1951
Spire height176 feet (54 m)
DioceseDiocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich

St Mary-le-Tower is the civic church of Ipswich and a Grade II* listed building.[1][2] It was in the churchyard of St Mary that the town charter of Ipswich was written in 1200.[3]


Although medieval, the church mostly dates from 1860-1870, when it was rebuilt by Richard Phipson.[4] 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.[5]


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.[6] 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.[7]


Originally there were five bells and a Sanctus in 1553 of which Miles Graye I of Colchester recast the Treble in 1607 and the Tenor in 1610. 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. ^ Historic England. "Church of St Mary le Tower (1235800)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  3. ^ St Mary Le Tower, Suffolk Churches website
  4. ^ The Buildings of England; Suffolk. Nikolaus Pevsner. Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300096484
  5. ^ [1]
  6. ^ The Organ, its History and Construction. Hopkins & Rimbault. 1st Ed: 1855
  7. ^