The original building was a medieval church built in the 12th century, comprising only a small nave and a chancel.   Substantial improvements were made in the 15th century which included a new nave roof, oak carved benches and a south porch, which has now been removed.   The substantial tower was built around 1538 to match the tower at St Mary’s Church, Tuddenham.

In 1730 St Andrew’s church served a village population of only 257 people.   With the growth of the population of Rushmere, St Andrew’s has since then been transformed and extended by stages to become the suburban parish church it is today.   By 1861 it had fallen into serious disrepair.   A programme of comprehensive restoration was undertaken, which included rebuilding the nave and the chancel on the medieval foundations, the addition of a north aisle, buttresses to strengthen the walls and ‘improvements’ to the tower.   Inside the church the carved benches and stained glass windows were made and installed; it is these that we enjoy today.   Effectively the whole character of the church changed to reflect the taste of ‘The Gothic Revival’.

During the 20th Century the building has been further extended to cater for much larger congregations arising from the building of Rushmere housing estate and the extension of the outer perimeter of Ipswich.   East of the medieval chancel a new eastern nave with an entrance on the south side was designed by George Pace of York and built in contemporary style in 1968; this has doubled the capacity of the building, allowing the congregation to be seated at the old or the new end of the building (and sometimes both!) around a central altar.   It transforms a small, dark church into a spacious and much brighter building.   An integral hall with a high pitched plain tile roof was added to the church in 1987 as a venue for parish meetings and an extension facility after worship.   We now have a larger open parish church with a capacity for congregations up to 320 allowing for greater flexibility in worship and in use.

In 1966 the church was given a Grade II* listing (see below)

Further reading:

R.Tricker St Andrew, Rushmere - church and parish guide (1983), revised by P.Lines (2001). Copies available for sale at the church

Suffolk Churches website

Grade II* listing 

Cynthia Brown, Two Victorian Woodcarvers: The benches in the churches of Tuddenham St Martin, St Mary's Great Bealings and Rushmere St AndrewProc. of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology & History, Vol. XXIV, pt 4 (1980) pp.285-6.

Cynthia Brown, The Hakewills – Credit where credit is due: The need for caution,  Proc. of the Suffolk Institute of Archaeology & History, Vol. XXXVII, pt 1 (1989) pp.45-54. .