Hamlet Church & St. Mary the Virgin (Strethall)
Icknield Way Villages 6/27/2022
This pretty thatched church was converted from a barn by the Squire Parson of Lofts Hall, Rev Robert Wilkes, in 1859. Until then, Duddenhoe End villagers were expected to walk to St Nicholas, Elmdon, each Sunday, no matter the weather. There is only one other thatched church in the Diocese, making this building as unusual as it is lovely.
The Grade I listed building that is Strethall’s magnificent Saxon church was very probably built about the time of Aethelred’s charter and is thus within a few years either side of its millennium. According to the Ancient Monuments Commission it dates from the early 11th century. In 1010 King Swein’s henchman, Thorkill the Tall, burned Thetford and Cambridge and the burning of Cambridge would have been readily visible from Strethall. Since King Swein forcibly converted his subjects to Christianity, any prudent Lord of the Manor would wish to demonstrate his Christian beliefs and may well have hastened to build himself a small stone church as a pre-emptive move in such circumstances.