by John | Apr 23, 2014 |

The Campanile of Beccles


A little piece of Italy in Beccles - the campanile, bell tower, of the Church of St Michael the Archangel that stands alone, detached from the church, overlooking the town and river. It is Suffolk's only freestanding bell tower, other than Bramfield's small round tower. Built in the sixteenth century, the bell tower is made of Yorkshire stone.

The south porch of the church, too, is made of stone but was built before the bell tower by the Abott of Bury St Edmunds in the fifteenth century. It was at this church that Lord Nelson's parents married in 1749 and the Suffolk poet George Crabbe married his 'Mira', the poetical name Crabbe gave his wife, Sarah Elmy.

Wind your way up the 122 steps of the bell tower's sprial stairs and enjoy the stunning outlook of the old town roofs, Waveney river and Norfolk marshes. At thirty metres tall, the bell tower is an impressive sight. Its separation from the church 'gives the impression that it belongs as much to the Old Market in front of it as to the church beside it, as much to Mammon as to God, a guardian of civic as well as eccleiastical pride,' as local author Miles Jebb writes, just like an Italian campanile

And while Beccles' bell tower may not overlook a piazza, there are wonderful cafes throughout the town, where you might enjoy a cappuccino and listen to the ringing of Beccles' bells. 

The Old Stables (sleeps 4) in Bungay is a short drive away and affords holidaymakers the luxury of being close to Beccles as well as other unmissable sights in North Suffolk.

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