Heritage 28 St Botolph’s church ruins

No 28                              St Botolph’s Church


This church belonged to the Abbot of St Benet’s. Some ancient documents called it St Benets and variously St Botolph’s.

Tradition has leant in favour of St Botolph, a seventh century hermit, living in the fenland swamps who has been credited as being one of the pioneers of the Benedictine Rule, and who was an Abbot in 655 AD. His feast day is 17th June. The church was founded by King Canute about the year 1020 AD.

It was literally razed to the ground by Henry VIII, chiefly because the Abbot of St Benets gave him more trouble than most of the Abbots, and to show his displeasure anything belonging to the Abbot was well and truly destroyed.

In 1845, White reports “………St Botolphs has been in ruins for several centuries, its beneficies being consolidated with Shotesham All Saints soon after the Reformation, when upwards of 1,000 acres were enclosed in 1781.”

The benefice of St Botolph’s was united into the vicarage of St Marys in 1311 soon after the Reformation and subsequently, in 1731, the united living, together with the rectory of St Martins, was annexed to Shotesham All Saints.

A tiny piece of ruin, part of the tower, remains in the churchyard.