St Mary’s is a Grade I listed medieval church; for its situation, history and architecture, click here for its page on the Suffolk Churches site. The Suffolk volume of the Pevsner Architectural Guide (2nd ed, 1974) quotes 1920s church architect H Munro Cautley, who called the font ‘probably the most beautiful in the Kingdom’.
It suffered a grievous blow in December 2015, thieves stealing about four tonnes of lead from the roof of the north aisle, but fundraising – much from generous concertgoers – enabled repairs to be completed before the 2016 season.
Access and facilities
The path from the road to the church porch is gravel but fairly level. In the porch, you can buy a programme for the concert (£1), as well as hire a cushion if you wish (also £1). Between the porch and the interior of the church there is a threshold which anyone in a wheelchair has to negotiate, but the church has a portable ramp; after that, the floor of the church is level, with the Box Office table on the left.
Audience members in wheelchairs (and accompanying helpers) are usually offered spaces at the lowest price in row K at the back of the central nave, close to the famous font (and to the tea table).
The church normally opens by 2.30pm for you to buy or collect tickets, and to take your seats.
Portaloos for concertgoers are provided on a grass bank at the edge of the churchyard near the road. For those with reduced mobility, there is a level-access facility (shared with performers, whose Green Room it adjoins) at the end of the path adjacent to the North Chancel.
Interval teas are a great Cratfield tradition, kindly provided and organised by church supporters from Cratfield and neighbouring villages. Home-made cakes, tea, coffee and cold drinks are served at the back of the church. The proceeds from interval refreshments go to the church as a source of much needed income. In addition, Concerts at Cratfield is pleased to help St Mary’s directly with a tithe of ticket income from every concert.
An assistance dog accompanying a concertgoer who is visually impaired is welcome: please let the Box Office know at the time of booking.