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Great medieval churches - Woolpit

The church of The Blessed Virgin Mary in Woolpit is one of the great medieval churches of Suffolk, a county blessed with some of the finest country churches in England. Like so many other Suffolk villages Woolpit owes its superb church to the wealth of the medieval wool trade, but there was a church on this spot centuries before Suffolk wool merchants gained their wealth. Woolpit became a destination for pilgrims during the medieval period, when it held a richly decorated statue of Our Lady in its own chapel. No trace of this chapel now survives but it was probably on the north side of the chancel, where the vestry now stands. Alternatively, it may have stood at the east end of the south aisle. Pilgrims began arriving at least as early as 1211 when the Bishop of Norwich ordered that their offerings be given to St Edmundsbury Abbey. The Shrine of Our Lady of Woolpit became extremely popular during the 15th and 16th centuries. Henry VI visited twice, and Queen Elizabeth of Y