The beautiful Church of St Mary, standing proud on the edge of the Park, has existed since at least 1258, making it well worth a visit during your trip to Helmingham. The western tower was completed in 1543, and the Tollemache arms appear throughout. The plinth bears the inscription: scandit ad ethera virgo puerpera virgula jesse (the Virgin Mother, branch of Jesse’s stem, ascends to heaven). The south porch is of the same date, but the south doorway is early thirteenth century. In 1488 John Tollemache signed the contract for the building of the tower for £30 with the Helmingham church-wardens.
The church itself is filled with beautiful and magnificent memorials to a number of generations of the Tollemache family, including a large tomb with a verse describing four generations of the family. These tombs were cleaned and renovated in 1976 in memory of John, 4th Lord Tollemache, who was responsible for bringing Helmingham back to life in the 1950s and who died in 1975. Contributions are gratefully received to ensure the upkeep of this famous and picturesque Suffolk church.
On Sunday it is possible to take a public footpath to the church from the garden, as it stands about 500 yards away from the car park.
For information about wedding ceremonies and blessings at the Church of St Mary, please see our Weddings page.