Clare Parish Church of St Peter & St Paul, in the centre of Clare, is at the heart of the Anglican communion for the Stour Valley Benefice. It is home to a welcoming congregation which enjoys traditional worship with a nod to contemporary choruses.
We extend a warm welcome to all and trust that within our walls you will find peace and a sense of the presence of God. Please check our service time—though we hold regular 10.30am services most Sundays we do have the occasional benefice service which may be held at one of our sister churches. Visitors will find plentiful parking in the market square, on the High Street and in the car park by the Country Park.
A living church
Clare Parish Church has two Bible Study Fellowship Groups. One is during the day and one is in the evening for our busy commuters.
One of the first things you will notice on visiting Clare Parish Church is how incredibly light it is inside. The reason for this is that many of the stained-glass windows were smashed out by the puritan Provost-Marshall William Dowsing during the English Civil War and replaced with plain glass. If you look carefully you will see tiny coloured fragments in one or two panes around the edges of the stone window frames that he missed with his musket. Such was his enthusiasm that there are bullet holes in the roof.
Between 1643–44, as “Commissioner for the destruction of monuments of idolatry and superstition” Dowsing desecrated around 250 churches in East Anglia.
The church’s rich history has attracted historians to write at length about it. The church has a Wikipedia page and a page devoted to it on the local Clare town website. Finally our pick includes Simon Knott’s site on Suffolk churches.
We have now resumed a regular schedule of services, subject to the Government’s and the Archbishops’ guidelines relating to Covid-19. For up-to-date service times during this period of some uncertainty, please contact the churchwardens directly.