St. Mary's Church
Rougham, County Suffolk

The village of Rougham is located 4 miles east of Bury St. Edmunds and is believed to date back 2,000 years. Three Roman burial chambers dating to 80 - 150 A.D. were discovered there in 1843. It is known that in 1005, the Earl Ulfketel, gave the church to the monastery at St. Edmundsbury who assumed the responsibility for the upkeep of the church and poor of the parish. The church is mentioned in the Doomsday Survey, 1086, as follows: "At Ruhham (Rougham) in the time of King Edward (the Confessor) St. Edmund (the Abbey of) held as a Manor 5 curacutes of land." Further records reveal: "To the church of this vill belong 40 acres of land in alms. Then worth L14 (1066) now L16 (1086). It is 16 furlongs long and 1 league broad, and (pays) 20d in geld."

There are remains of a 13th century stone church which were unearthed when the church was restored in 1880. Evidence was found of an intra-mural burial between two arches in the south wall. During the 14th century the church was rebuilt and stood by itself with no other structures close by. This may be because of the great plague of 1349 - 50 when many died and the village was burned and rebuilt a half mile away. During the 16th century, in 1514, the North aisle was constructed.

In 1536, when the Monastery was dissolved, the "Manor of Rougham was granted to John Drury by Thomas, Duke of Norfolk, High Treasurer of England and Earl Marshal of the same, under licence of King Henry VIII, in consideration of eight hundred and sixty two pounds sixteen shillings and eightpence sterling." In 1556 John Drury, in a codicil to his will, directs that "VIII marks be yearly paid from his Manor of Rougham Hall towards finding a priest to pray for the souls of his father and mother and of himself, in the parish church of Rougham." He also gave the priest a house upon Rougham Green, called the Chantery House, and wills the same VIII marks shall be paid out of the Manor of Rougham forever.

The church remained relatively unchanged until 1880 when it was restored to its original grandeur.

Located inside St. Mary's Church, Rougham, is an extremely fine example of brasses to Sir Roger Drury and his wife, Margaret (or Margery) which date to 1420.

The original brasses to Sir Roger Drury, Knight, and his wife Margaret (or Margery) are located in the floor of the North aisle and are covered by a rug for protection. They measure approximately 5 feet in high and 3 feet wide. Replicas can be found standing a short distance away.

Sir Roger appears in full armor with his head resting on his helmet. What appears to be a lion guards his feet. Sir Roger died in 1420.

Margaret, Sir Roger's wife, appears with a crispine head-dress, kirtle and mantle. Her head rest on a cushion and a small dog appears at her feet. She died in 1405.

The inscription at their feet reads:

"(Hic) jacent dns Rogus Drury miles qui obijt ... die mens ... Anno dni Mcc.... Et(Ma) rgeria e j'ux' que obijt III die mens. Septebr Anno dni Mccccv quorem aiab' ppiciet ds. Amen"

Translated it reads:

"Here lie Lord Roger Drury knight, who died ... AD 1400 and Margery his wife who died 3rd September A. D. 1405, on whose soul may the Lord be merciful. Amen."

Sir Roger Drury, the son of Sir Nicholas Drury, the first member of the Drury family to settle at Rougham, was a country landowner, and Knight of the Shire of Suffolk, and was summoned to the Privy Council in 1401.

It is believed that the brasses may have originally been placed atop a sarcophagus and later moved to the current location. As you can see in the picture above, a stone pillar rest on the top left corner near Lady Margaret's head.

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Last updated: November, 1999