Weekly services at St Martins
2nd and 4th Sundays of the month at 10.00am
Every 1st and 3rd Tuesday at 10.00am
Priest in charge: Rev. Mark Hawarth
Assistant Priest: Rev. Sylvia Bareham
Church Wardens: Sylvia Hilton and David Yates
There has probably been a place of worship on the site since the 11th century but the present church dates from the 15th century it stands at the centre of the village. It is built from knapped flints with limestone structural members. The flints are, of course, local but the limestone probably came from Barnack in Leicestershire as was that for the Abbey in Bury St Edmunds.
Although heavily ‘Victorianised’ there are many historical features left in and around the church, the porch is Tudor and made of red brick it still has the niche for the stoop that used to hold Holy Water at its entrance.
Inside you will find it much brighter and spacious than its grey exterior would suggest. Every window has stained glass from a modern piece depicting the Gloria through those depicting biblical stories to one showing the life of St Martin, to the East window depicting the crucifixion. In the west under the tower is a particularly fine window which has recently been restored.
The south aisle was added in 1870 by the widow of Reverend Edward Hogg who was a rector of the parish.
The tower was added in 1425 following a large bequest.
The wrought iron porch gates were added in 1979 with a bequest by a Miss Alice Horrex of Felsham
Other features are two unusual misericords of medieval origin, one showing St Martin dividing his cloak for a beggar and the other the martyrdom of St Thomas a Beckett. These have been turned into a lectern and a reading desk.
There is a royal coat of arms and those of the Dukes of Norfolk.
The organ is a 1912 Nelson Pipe Organ with nearly 1,000 pipes. It was purchased in 1974 from a Methodist church in Lincoln by Revd. Maurice Pirani and a number of parishioners. It was restored in 2015 with the assistance of funds from Suffolk County Council and the support of many parishioners, friends and relatives. There is a Memorial Book in the church recording all those who donated.
The significant memorials in the church are of the Ord family and the Gilstraps who lived at Fornham Hall over the years. There are also family graves in the churchyard.
There are more than 475 graves in the churchyard dating as far back as 1685. There is a list and survey plan in the church to assist visitors to locate their relative's graves.