SS Peter and Paul, Bardwell
We are a friendly and active church, with two sunday services a month and a monthly Messy Church. We hold monthly coffee mornings which bring many people together and are very popular!
We have just completed building works to repair the roof and two windows, as well as creating a toilet and new vestry in the church. It's been an exciting project, involving a village-wide pageant, talks and new interpretation guides being made for the church.
Athough there was probably a Christian place of worship in Bardwell village before the Norman Conquest the first written record of a church is in the Domesday Survey in 1068. This was not the church we see today as it was most likely made of wood or lath and plaster with a thatch roof but it was modestly endowed with 8 acres.
There is no documentary evidence to say when SS Peter & Paul church was built but the styles employed in its construction give us clues. The lofty narrow nave with its thin walls and matching two-light windows tell us that the building took place from the late 1300's to the early 1400's. The roof is dated 1421. The tower and porch are of about the same date as the nave. The chancel was almost completely rebuilt and its floor lowered in1853.
The building has features of national and international significance, including a hammer-beam roof and medIeval stained glass including the portrayal of Sir William de Berdewell.
If you are ever near Bardwell, please do visit. The church is open daily, usually between 10am - 4pm.
The parish of Bardwell extends over four miles north-south but averages only about one mile east-west, and the population includes 814 electors in 327 houses. The main centre of population is the village of Bardwell, with the hamlet of Bowbeck about half a mile north of the village.
Most people work outside the village travelling either to Bury St Edmunds or further afield. Transport is supported by a limited bus service. There are about eight small businesses and self-employed services in the village including the popular bakery Woosters in the nearly fully restored windmill. The water mill is no longer operational and has been converted to a private house. There is a Post Office in the village, which also stocks some provisions, and there are two public houses: the Dun Cow which serves good food, and the Six Bells which has a restaurant and accommodation.
A free monthly magazine, Bardwell Village News, is distributed to every home and is also available on line.
Bardwell has a Church of England Primary School, currently with just over 60 children. The school is part of a growing Multi Academy Trust, ‘Tilian’. Strong links between the school and Church community are supported by the Foundation Governors who are members of the PCC. The church is used at least termly for their services. A small Open the Book team visits the school about twice a term.
The village hall is the church-owned Tithe Barn (leased to a village hall management committee) which is extremely well used by parishioners as well as people from the surrounding communities. We have a newly developed Community Field as well as a long-established Playing Field. The Playing Field has a modern floodlit Multi-Use Games Area (catering for tennis, basketball, netball, and 5-a-side football), as well as cricket and football pitches, childrens’ playground and a pavilion: it is a popular venue for village fetes.
There are a range of major annual village events which include a Fair, Cars on the Green (vintage cars), Open Gardens, a summer fete and a summer music festival, ‘Bardfest’.
A ‘Friends of Bardwell Church’ group raises funds for maintenance and repair of the church and organises work parties to manage the churchyard.
The village used to be home to a Methodist Chapel, long since converted to a private house, and to a Baptist Chapel which closed in 2003. The village also has a Quaker Lane and a Knox Lane!