Approached down a single track lane at the north east of Martlesham, with fields to the right and woodland to the left, the church of St Mary the Virgin is in a wonderful peaceful setting. Set in a churchyard which bursts forth in spring with crocus and snowdrops and is a haven for wildlife, St Mary’s is on a site above Martlesham Creek which has been used for Christian worship since at least 1086. The church is relatively modern though, being only 600 years old!
Leave your car in the car park opposite the church, and walk down the path towards the brick and flint tower. You have plenty of time to appreciate this wonderful setting, as you walk past the tower and enter through the porch on the south side. Inside the air of peace continues and you can imagine the generations who have come here to worship and pray. But St Mary’s is not stuck in the past, this is a living church where you will find a warm welcome – both spiritually and physically now we have a new under-pew heating system installed.
Once inside and seated on a (slightly cushioned) pew, you can look around and appreciate the fine Victorian stained glass windows. The East window is particularly impressive, with its striking depiction of the crucifixion. The mural of St Christopher bearing the Christ-Child is just visible opposite the entrance door and is a reminder of how brightly decorated the church much must have been in its early days.
With a date of 1614 on the pulpit and a 15th century font by the entrance door, the feeling of continuity with a worshipping past is all around. This continuity of past and present is also reflected in the worship we enjoy here, as both traditional Book of Common Prayer and contemporary Common Worship services are held during the month.
St Mary’s is open every day for peace and prayer, and all visitors to this church whether for Sunday worship or weekday visiting are warmly welcome. There are many enjoyable footpaths in the area and a path down to Martlesham Creek crosses through the churchyard.
Facilities: sound system, audio loop, level access, toilets and small kitchen in amenity building in churchyard, parking opposite.