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The History of Saint Margaret's Church Cowlinge


There are several memorials on the walls and floors to people of the past who have been associated with this church and parish.

The nave floor has two burial slabs with brasses.

1. Brass inscription to Thomas Dersley (1614) and Margaret, his wife, with an epitaph in verse.

2. Brass effigies of Robert (1571) and Margaret (1599) Higham, also their five sons and five daughters and the top of their coat of arms.

On the walls of the aisles are plaques, commemorating the following:

North Aisle

1. The Revd Algernon Sweet, Rector 1831-1907.

2. Brass plaque commemoration the restoration of the church in 1913-14.

3. Thomas Tilbrook (1862) and Isabella (1882).

4. Francis S. Cook, killed at Massingarbe in 1918, aged 19.

South Aisle

1. War memorial, commemorating 30 Cowlinge folk who died in World War 1.

2. Able Seaman Percival May, R.N., who died at New York in 1905, aged 20.

3. Gilbert Augustus Tonge of Branches Park (died 1927).

The following memorials may be seen in the chancel:

1. On the south wall is the hatchment of Henry Usborne of Branches Park, who was High Sheriff of Suffolk in 1823. Davy (1831) noted that two hatchments of the Dickins family had then been placed in the house of the Clerk because John Kemp, who purchased the Manor in the early 19th century ordered that they should be removed from the church.

2. A plaque commemorating Henry Usborne (1840) and Phoebe (1875). A small plaque above it commemorates their daughter, Elizabeth.

3. A huge monument on the north side, in figured marble, by Peter Scheemakers, to Francis Dickins, who rebuilt the tower and "repaired and ornamented the church"; he died in 1747. We see the figures of him and his wife in Roman costume, seated (or rather lounging) each side of an urn. Above is a pediment and Coat of Arms. The inscription on the tomb-chest is flattering and is well worth reading. Francis Dickins of Cowlinge and Little Bradley was a Barrister at Law and we read that he was "feriously religious" and was "a shining ornament to his profession". Rachel, his wife (whose maiden name was also Dickins) had the monument erected.


The tower contains a ring of five bells. The treble, second and tenor were cast by Thomas Newman in 1734, the fourth two having been given by Francis Dickins. The third and fourth bells were made by John Briant of Hertford in 1809. The tenor bell has a diameter of 39 inches.

Amongst the treasures of the church which are in safe keeping and not on display are an Elizabethan chalice, and a copy of the Paraphrase of the Gospels by Erasmus, which is dated 1548.

Last Modified Sunday 11 February 2018