At the sign of the Barking lion...

Unitarian church, Bedfield

At the sign of the Barking lion...

home index e-mail what's new? - a journey through the churches of Suffolk



Compared with most, Suffolk is still a fairly non-conformist county. Here, the 19th century prefered Congregationalists to Methodists - indeed, in Suffolk outside the towns, Methodists are fairly few and far between - and the Baptists, of course, are also busy here. But occasionally, off the beaten track, you find yourself even further from the mainstream, and here is that great rarity, a rural Unitarian church.

As the name suggests, Unitarians aren't Trinitarian Christians, but their monotheism chimes strongly with many non-churchgoers, and their impressive chapels in Norwich and Ipswich are busy places, often used for civic events.


There is a Unitarian church in the nearby town of Framlingham, and this was an outstation chapel of it. The sign outside proclaims that it was built in 1895, which may well be the case, but today it looks entirely new, with spick and span boarding outside and a cool, clean wood-lined interior. It reminded me of the old joke about the spade which has been in the same family for two centuries - it has only had four new blades and three new handles.

The people here were very welcoming when I cycled this way on Historic Churches Bike Ride day in 2001, being most sympathetic when I thought I had lost my signing-in form. They gave me a new one, but fortunately I found the other, with 43 churches signed in on it, in the depths of my rucksack when I got home.

postscript, August 2010: sadly, I am told that this little chapel is now closed, and the site is awaiting redevelopment.

Simon Knott, 2007, updated 2010


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