Churches and Places of Worship
In Wenhaston St.Peter's Church stands in The Street with the Church Room building alongside in Church Lane, plus there is a Methodist Chapel in Coles Hill. The nearest meeting places for the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers) are at Smallgate, Beccles and at Waterloo Avenue, Leiston. There are Catholic churches at Halesworth, off Steeple End (St. Edmund King and Martyr) and at Southwold Common (Church of the Sacred Heart). United Reformed churches are in Quay Street, Halesworth and High Street, Southwold. The Halesworth Community Church meets at School Farm, Cratfield.
Church of England
The Parish of St Peter's, Wenhaston, is a member of the Blyth Valley Team of Parishes. Our Team Rector, Edward Rennard, lives at The Rectory, Halesworth (Tel: 01986 872602).
Visitors from all over the UK, and the world, come to St.Peter's in particular to view the medieval painting on panels of the ‘Last Judgement’ or ‘Doom’ which is housed within. This is a fine example of such paintings. See separate section in this Guide for more about The Doom, but ideally do take a look for yourself and study this wonderful and remarkable 500-year old art work.
St.Peter's is generally believed to have Saxon foundations, but what you see now is a medieval church, with some earlier features and with alterations and additions made over subsequent centuries. St.Peter's is a Grade I listed building because of medieval work and the 'Last Judgement' 'Doom' painting.
For times and details of services see the notices in the church porch, on the church notice board, or subscribe to the monthly ‘Team Times’. This is the parish magazine for all the parishes of the Blyth Valley Team Ministry. Spare copies of Team Times are for sale, and can usually be found in the church along with postcards of the ‘Doom’ and an informative booklet for sale. Wenhaston's correspondent is Margaret Goldstone, telephone 01502 478378.
The Wenhaston Doom is a medieval painting in St. Peter's Church that is unusual for having been painted on to wooden boards rather than directly on to a wall. Most experts place it within the 'Top 10' of such paintings nationally, and ranked by some at Number 1. Few other such Dooms have survived and indeed the story of the Wenhaston Doom is remarkable.
The fact that the Doom can be seen today is due to the painted boards being whitewashed over, as long ago as the mid 1500s. So the painting remained hidden to view for generations, and, most importantly, hidden from the attentions of the church despoilers of Cromwell's Commonwealth in 1644. Wenhaston once featured angels on the beams of the church roof, but these despised items, along with much else, were destroyed at this time.
In 1892, during church alterations, the wooden boards were removed from the church and taken out to the churchyard. Imagine the astonishment when overnight rain revealed this glorious long-forgotten painting from under its covering. Go to www.wenhaston.net/doom/index.php to know more.
St Peter's Church houses six bells in excellent going order.
Part of the Blyth Valley Ringers. Regular practices are held at Halesworth and some surrounding towers between 7:30pm - 9:00pm (nights vary for different towers). Visiting ringers are welcome to join in or to book their own session as a group. The Blyth Valley Ringers can ring for services, weddings and other events by arrangement. Under the Suffolk Guild of Ringers (NE District) ringers can take part in events and competitions during the year - usually accompanied by a delicious tea.
St Peter's Church Choir
Our small choir was formed more than 20 years ago. Many of the original members have now moved on, but one or two are still singing - with additional help. If you would like to join us you would be very welcome.
One of Wenhaston's historic buildings, once a school. Here there is one main room, 20ft x 40ft, plus separate kitchen with four ring hob, refrigerator and microwave. Cloakroom and WC. Wheelchair access.
Hire costs are very reasonable. Heating extra. Several village groups meet here and enquiries from organisations or from individuals are welcome. For bookings or enquiries contact Jenny Jeffrey, 01502 478815.
The Stone Chapel in Chapel Lane, Coles Hill bears a plaque dated 1835 but certainly an earlier chapel stood on this site. Nowadays this galleried chapel is warmly decorated and has a refurbished rear ‘schoolroom’ and modern kitchen.
Details of services and group meetings are displayed on its own notice-board, at the Village Hall and in ‘Team Times’. Minister: Reverend Ian Gardner 01728 830733, Steward: Iris Baker 01502 478663.
The Suffolk Historic Churches Trust
The Trust holds a sponsored cycle ride every year in September. Cycle to nominated places of worship to raise funds which are split equally between the church of your choice and SHCT.