Churches

Parish Church of St Mary the Virgin Cavendish – Peacocks Road, The Green, Cavendish CO10 8AZ


Welcome to the parish church dedicated to St Mary. It has stood at the heart of the small Suffolk village of Cavendish since the middle ages. Worship continues to this day, though it may be a little different to that when the church was first completed. As you wander around, take a moment to offer a prayer for those who first built the church. We hope you enjoy your visit to St Mary’s and appreciated the simplicity and brightness of the church, with its atmosphere of peace and tranquillity.

A Saxon Church stood on the site in 1086 when the Domesday Book was compiled. The present building is of the Perpendicular style and dates from about 1300 to about 1485, with some 19th century additions and alterations. The tower is early 14th century with an upper floor that has a fireplace. The South porch is also 14th century, which is unnusually early for this this type of structure. Read more about its history on the Church of England website.

The Church Notices page gives contact information, times of services and details of other activities. The church also organises a number of Fund Raising and social events throughout the year; see St Mary’s Village Events diary for details of these.

Please note that access is restriced by steps into the nave through the South West door. A portable ramp is available just inside the door.


The United Reformed Church – Lower Street, Cavendish CO10 8AQ

Front view of The United Reformed Church

The United Reformed Church, Cavendish


The URC has been an important place for worship in Cavendish for over 170 years. It began life as a Congregational Chapel, and continues as The United Reformed Church. This change came about in 1972 when the ecumenical movements of the sixties had led to the formal merging of nonconformist traditions.

Before the present chapel, local Congregationalists used to walk to Clare to attend chapel. Joseph Stammers Garret (maltster, miller, corn merchant and farmer) established a new chapel in his home village of Cavendish, with the foundation stone laid in 1840. A Sunday School extension was added in 1843. Later, in 1870, Joseph built the lecture hall (now the Memorial Hall) to provide day school education as well.

It is with regret that after more than 170 years serving the worshipping need of Cavendish residents, and many from nearby villages, it was decided that the church should close. The decision was not easy for its members but for varying reasons, especially that of declining numbers, it was felt that closure was the only option. The final service was held in October 2017.


Roman Catholic Church – Clare Priory, Ashen Road, Clare, CO10 8NX

Clare Priory

Clare Priory – Our Lady of Good Counsel
(Photograph from suffolkchurches.co.uk by Simon Knott)


Clare Priory is one of the oldest religious houses in England. It is the home of a mixed community of Augustinian friars and lay people, open to both men and women, seeking to live the Christian life according to the Rule of St. Augustine:
"Before all else, live together in harmony, being of one mind and one heart on the way to God"

The Augustinians, or Austin Friars, came to Clare from northern France at the invitation of Sir Richard de Clare in 1248, to build their first foundation in the British Isles. The Dissolution of the Monasteries under Henry VIII in 1538 saw the buildings, goods, lands and revenues become the property of the Crown, and so passed into private ownership. Due to the good will of its last private owner, Lady May Barker, the Order were able to purchase the Priory and return to their spiritual home in 1953.

The Parish is dedicated to Our Mother of Good Counsel, and encompasses the villages of Clare, Cavendish, Glemsford, Hundon and Stoke-by-Clare. It is twinned with the parish of Baba Dogo in Nairobi.

Sunday parish Masses are celebrated in the Priory Church of Mother of Good Counsel. Daily Mass is celebrated either in the Oratory at the Priory or in the Church.

Clare Priory can be contacted on 01787 277326 or see their website clarepriory.org.uk


Parish Church of St George & St Gregory – Pentlow Lane, Pentlow, CO10 7SP

External view of St George & St Gregory

St George & St Gregory, Pentlow
(Photograph from essexchurches.co.uk by Simon Knott)


Set in a secluded position near to the border with Cavendish, is the delightful church of St George & St Gregory. It is situated in the southern valley floor of the Stour, as part of a complex that includes manor and mill. Its current role is parish church for Pentlow, although the village is some distance away on top of the hill.

The church is distinctive with its round tower, rectangular centre, and semicircular and domed extension. The original church comprised a western entrance, long narrow nave and a narrower chancel, possibly dating from the middle Anglo-Saxon period (AD 650-850). Since then there have been many changes – the circular Apse at the end of the chancel was an early addition. The entrance was moved to the more usual southern side and the tower was built in the thirteenth or early fourteenth century (pre 1320). An external northern chapel was added in late tudor times and rebuilt in the late sixteenth century. Many windows have been inserted in the original walls, and the Victorians gave it a new red tiled roof in 1887.

Note: the church is normally locked.

For more about the church’s history, see Andrew Clarke’s article for The Foxearth and District Local History Society.

For times of the services or contact information, see the Church of England website A Church Near You .