All Saints, Kenton, Suffolk

Download as PDF

Feature Sets (3)


Kenton is a village in mid-Suffolk, 13 miles N of Ipswich. The nearest town is Debenham, 2 miles to the SW. The land here is the usual arable farmland of the East Anglian plain. A tributary of the Deben runs to the E of the village, and the church is in the village centre with the moated site of Kenton Hall, now a 16thc. building, half a mile outside the village to the S.

All Saints' church comprises a nave with S aisle and N and S porches, a chancel and W tower. The nave is of flint with a S doorway dating from the end of the 12thc. and a plain N doorway of the same period (not accessible). Both doorways are protected by flint porches: the N (now a vestry) plain and designed by Hakewill in 1871-72; the S more elaborate and 15thc. The nave windows, two on the N and one W of the porch on the S, belong to Hakewill's restoration, and he also lowered the nave roof slightly; the line of the old roof is visible on the tower wall. The S aisle is a two-bay brick structure built by John Garneys, Lord of the Manor, in 1520-22, as a chapel to St John the Evangelist. It occupies only the section of the nave E of the S porch, and can be entered from a doorway in the E wall of the porch. The flint chancel is by Hakewill (1871-72) in a 13thc. style and has two heavy brick buttresses at the E end and a reset plain 12thc. S doorway. The flint W tower is 14thc. with diagonal buttresses and a parapet with flushwork decoration of roundels. The church was restored by Hakewill in 1871-72. Apart from the S doorways to nave and chancel, there is a Purbeck marble font, probably 13thc. but included here.


A manor was held by Beorhtmaer, commended to Eadric, before the Conquest and consisted of 82 acres of ploughland, 2 acres of meadow and woodland for 12 pigs. Another 30 acres were held by two men before the Conquest; one commended to Beorhtweald, the other to Beorhtmaer, and a further 3 acres were held by three free men commended to Eadric. All of this was held by Robert Malet's mother from her son in 1086. Also listed among the holdings of Robert Malet in 1086 were a parcel of 30 acres held by Huna, a free man commended to Eadric before the Conquest, and a manor of 30 acres held by a free man, Wudu-Brun, commended to Eadric and held in 1086 by William Goulafre. This manor also contained half an acre of meadow and a church with 30 acres. A holding of 80 acres was listed under St Edmundsbury Abbey in 1086. This had been held by two free men from Durand, who held it from the abbot before the Conquest, and also included an acre of meadow and woodland for 10 pigs. A final holding, listed under the Bishop of Bayeux, was held before the Conquest by five free men, four commended to Ely abbey and the fifth to Saxi. This consisted of 30 acres, held in 1086 by Ralph de Savenay from Roger Bigod. In the late Middle Ages, the manor appears to have passed from the Ramseys to the Garneys before 1450, when Ralph Ramsey's daughter and heir Anne married Peter Garneys.

Debenham and Helmingham benefice, i.e. Aspall, Debenham and Kenton and Framsden, Helmingham, Pettaugh and Winston.


Exterior Features


Chancel S doorway

Round headed, single order (reset). Plain and continuous with a slight chamfer. The arch voussoirs have been replaced but the jambs appear original.

h. of opening 1.80 m
w. of opening 0.81 m

Nave S doorway

Round headed, two orders.

h. of opening 2.30 m
w. of opening 1.16 m
2nd order

Detached en-delit nook-shafts on water-holding bases, carrying broad-leaf capitals. The W capital has two rows of heavy, keeled broad leaves, the upper leaves with their tips curled up are waterleaf-type, and the rim of the bell appears in the middle of the faces, like a waterleaf capital. The E capital has a single row of leaves with stiff-leaf volutes at the tips. The carving of this capital is pitted, probably by water damage. The neckings of both capitals are double rolls, the upper roll very thin, and there are thin chamfered abaci at the top. The imposts are hollow-chamfered with overhanging quirks. The arch has a fat keeled angle roll with hollows on face and soffit and further thin rolls beyond the hollows on both face and soffit. There is no label.

First order

Plain and continuous with a slight chamfer.



At the W end of the nave is a tapered octagonal front of Purbeck marble with a hollow-chamfered lower rim. Each face is carved with a pair of flat blind pointed arches. The bowl is lead-lined and in its upper rim are five staple holes, filled with lead, at the eastern angles. The font is now carried on a 19thc. base consisting of eight thin, polished shafts and a central thicker shaft, all cylindrical and without capitals or bases. They stand on a plain octagonal block, and this on an octagonal two-step base. An earlier, 15th-16thc. support is preserved in the Garneys Chapel.

h. of bowl 0.36 m
int. diameter of bowl 0.535 m
w. of bowl (across angles) 0.74 m
w. of bowl (across faces) 0.69 m
w. of face at bottom 0.24 m
w. of face at top 0.29 m


The S doorway has features of waterleaf capitals and a keeled roll in the arch, pointing to a date in the 1170s or '80s.


  • H. M. Cautley, Suffolk Churches and their Treasures. London 1937, 281.
  • D. P. Mortlock, The Popular Guide to Suffolk Churches: 2 Central Suffolk. Cambridge 1990, 141-42.
  • N. Pevsner, The Buildings of England: Suffolk. Harmondsworth 1961, rev. E. Radcliffe 1975, 313-14.
Exterior from SE.
Exterior from NE.
Interior to E.
View into Garneys Chapel from NW.


Site Location
National Grid Reference
TM 191 659 
pre-1974 traditional (England and Wales): Suffolk
now: Suffolk
medieval: North Elmham (c.950-1071), Thetford (1071-94), Norwich (from 1094)
now: St Edmundsbury and Ipswich
medieval: not confirmed
now: All Saints
Type of building/monument
Parish church  
Report authors
Ron Baxter