St Andrews church, covehithe

Covehithe, perhaps more commonly infamous for its rapid rates of erosion, but home to a very special little Church. It wasn’t always so little.

St Andrews church in the Suffolk village of Covehithe is a very peculiar church in an exposed position on the Suffolk coast. St Andrew’s was once a glorious medieval building, but by 1672 the inhabitants were finding the upkeep of their grand church too difficult, so they got permission to remove the roof and build a much smaller thatched church within the ruins. So, in essence, you have a church built within a church.

The bulk of the medieval church was built in the 15th century by the incumbent, William Yarmouth, who prevailed upon his friends for money to rebuild the earlier church on this site. The striking tower was used as a landmark for sailors along the coast.

By the late 17th century it was clear that the small community of Covehithe could not sustain the large medieval church. A new, much smaller church was built within the walls of the medieval building, reusing the medieval stones. Both the north and south doorways come from the original medieval building, but the east window is Victorian.

The small church is still in use, but the tower is no more than a wonderful landmark, and the interior is usually inaccessible. The tower dates to the 14th century, though the body of the church was probably much earlier.

The church has a long history of spooky tales, especially the graveyard at night. Those ruins old a faceless female apparition reputedly haunts and strange sounds have been heard from the tower after dark.

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