Vicar- Rev'd Canon Susan Loxton, Tel 01379 388493
The Rectory, Doctors Lane, Stradbroke, IP21 5HU
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Assistant Priest - Rev'd Peter Schwier, Tel 01379 586517
Details of the Services, church and village events are in the ‘Sixth Sense’ magazine which is produced monthly and distributed to all the 6 parishes served by our Vicar.
Services at St John the Baptist, Metfield:
23rd September 9.30am. Holy Communion. Revd John.
30th September. There is no service in the village today.
7th October 9.30am. Village Service. Michael.
14th October 9.30am. Holy Communion. Revd Susan.
21st October 9.30am. Village Service. Diane and Alix.
28th October 9.30am. Holy Communion. Revd John.
An Update on Our Church Building, March 2016
Last year Metfield Parish Church Council spent a great amount of money on the repair and restoration of the fabric of the church and also on serveral alterations to make the building more attractive and practical for use. Stephen and Jely made a great effort towards fund raising and over the years a considerable sum of money had been accumulated for this purpose. Once plans were agreed and approved, Stephen oversaw much of the coordination of architects, builders, sub-contractors and suppliers.
The work completerd so far has been extensive: not perhaps very noticeable, but vital, the north roof was re-shingled and external plaster restored; internally, the lighting was totally renewed and the heating updated; various areas of the wooden floor and rotten joists were replaced; four pews were removed to create a larger recreational space; a tea point area was created by sealing across the north doorway.
We are very pleased with the results, although there are still other items on our wish list for the future.
Enormous gratitiude is deserved by everyone involved. We would particularly like to thank our congregation for cheerfully tolerating the upheaval; the contributions of so many in various aspects of the project; and we are especially appreciative of the monies received from the Metfield Charity.
And Celebrating the Completion
To celebrate the completion of the repairs and redecoration we were delighted to welcome Bishop Mike to our Sunday service in October 2016.
The church stands in the centre of the village, a witness of God's love for our community and available to all. Everybody is welcome and the building is open to anyone who just puchses open the door. Do please come and see the changes for yourselves.
Watch a video clip of the restoration work and the village of Metfield (click on the blue word).
Good Friday 2016
Anam Cora (Gaelic for "Soul Chorus") is a group of devotional singers who weave strands of vocal and spiritual backgrounds to create a meditative and uplifting experience. They performed the Good Friday mediatation which they have created at St John the Baptist, Metfield.
On Saturday July 25th 2015 the church was full for a concert by the Valentine Singers. After several weeks in the village hall while the builders have been busy it was lovely to be back in the church and enjoy "Music for a Summer's Day". The varied prorgramme ranged from Stanier to Gershwin and included excerpts from Gilbert and Sullivan's Trial by Jury. Afterwards the singers joined the audience for a delicious tea. The £590 raised will go to the church restoration funds and The Montgomery Heights Orphanage in Zimbabwe.
Photos and further details about the church can be found at
Metfield is remote enough from anywhere of any size to feel like it has a life of its own, and this was certainly so in the 19th century. At the time of the 1841 census, when the populations of most rural East Anglian parishes were beginning to reach their peak, the village had more than 700 residents, and could boast a surgeon, a schoolmaster, a tailor, a bricklayer, an inn and two beerhouses, three shoemakers, two butchers and three grocers. White's 1844 directory notes that Mrs Susan Godbold has resided in the parish for 80 years, and walked round the village on her 104th birthday, Sept 14th 1843. A century later, Arthur Mee found her gravestone while poking around in the churchyard, and noted that she had died at the remarkable age of 105.
The church seems to have been in a fairly moribund state by the early years of the 19th century. By one of those arcane pieces of Church legislation, it was what was known as a donative, which is to say that there were no Rectorial or Vicarial tithes, and the institution of a minister was in the hands of the congregation, who paid him a salary as a chaplain. This was all well and good, and sounds very democratic, but it relied on a large number of parishioners attending church and paying for the privilege of doing so. By the 19th century, the level of Anglican churchgoing in East Anglia had fallen to about a tenth of the population (it was slightly higher than this in Metfield) and consequently there simply wasn't enough money to maintain a minister and the upkeep of the buildings. Thomas Mayhew, the Rector of Rumburgh St Michael, served as chaplain at the time of the 1851 Census of Religious Worship, but he complained that some parishioners who have not signed the agreement have refused to pay their portion of composition which cannot be recovered without action at law... in the course of time this church will be robbed of its only money payment.
In some parts of Suffolk, the independent churches were more popular than the Established church, but this seems not to have been the case at Metfield, where the Methodist Society had only about a dozen members. It seems that in Metfield, as in most of north-east Suffolk, most people simply didn't go to church anymore.
A series of reform acts, and the revival of the Church of England in the second half of the 19th century, would have a dramatic effect on parishes like Metfield. And yet, the restoration of the church was a light one. This large, aisless church sits in its wide graveyard surrounded by 18th and 19th century gravestones. The view from the west is typical: no great statements, no flowery Victorian windows, just a fine,tall tower lifting to a simple bell window and the battlements and pinnacles restored in the 18th century. Apart from these, the building is pretty much as it was on the eve of the Reformation. It is a setting I love, but by the time we arrive the rain was sheeting down across the graveyard, and so as quickly as possible we took refuge in the 15th century porch.
This is typical of the way rural East Anglian parishes emulated the grandeur of near neighbours with money. Here, the porch is vaulted, but in wood, probably by a local carpenter, and there are even bosses as if we were in the porch of Eye or Wymondham. These are also wooden, depicting heads - one is a green man, another had swallow nests tucked in above to give him a full head of hair - but the central boss is bigger than the rest. It is said to depict Christ in Majesty, although if he is stting on a rainbow it is actually Christ in Judgement.