Raised to cathedralesque proportions, St Andrew’s at Covehithe heralded the wealth of the area in medieval times. As this receded so too did the glory of the church. With the iconoclastic cleansing of Protestantism, it literally became “one of the ruins that Cromwell knocked about a bit”,1 but ultimately it was the ruinous upkeep which was its downfall.
In the 17th century, St Andrew’s was sacrificed to dissolution and a smaller church was raised from, and within, the remains. Neatly thatched, it nestles against the great tower and continues to minister, in this silent hamlet of Suffolk.
"An aged man is but a paltry thing, A tattered coat upon a stick,unless Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing For every tatter in its mortal dress, Nor is there singing school but studying Monuments of its own magnificence; And therefore I have sailed the seas and come To the holy city of Byzantium"
"O sages standing in God's holy fire As in the gold mosaic of a wall, Come from the holy fire, perne in a gyre, And be the singing-masters of my soul. Consume my heart away; sick with desire And fastened to a dying animal It knows not what it is; and gather me Into the artifice of eternity." Sailing to Byzantium - W.B. Yeats
1. 1920s Musical hall song made famous by Marie LLoyd