It has been a mixed year for historic sites in East Anglia, with some being declared safe while others are added to the at-risk register. 

Today Historic England has published its list of the heritage sites in the region that are at risk of being lost as a result of neglect, decay or inappropriate development – and, increasingly, climate change.

Five sites in Suffolk have been added to the register, but nine have been saved through the efforts of the community and funding from the government and other sources.

Tony Calladine, Historic England's East of England regional director, said: “It is central to Historic England’s mission that we pass on to future generations the rich legacy of historic buildings and places that we have inherited from previous generations.

"They tell the story of who we all are, they enrich our day-to-day lives and support sustainable economic growth, and we are coming to see how they can help in our struggle with climate change.

"Our Heritage at Risk programme is a key contributor to this ambition. With the help of local communities and partners, imaginative thinking and business planning, we can bring historic places back to life in the East of England.

“As the threat of climate change grows, the reuse and the sensitive upgrading of historic buildings and places becomes ever more important. Finding new uses for buildings and sites rescued from the Register avoids the high carbon emissions associated with demolishing structures and building new”.

Among the sites that have been declared at risk in Suffolk are:

The Church of St Edmund in Kessingland

It features a 30-metre-high flint tower, which has been a landmark for seafarers since it was built in the mid-15th century. While the church interior includes many mementoes of the fishing heritage of the village.

East Anglian Daily Times:

The 17th-century thatched nave roof and guttering are in poor condition and allow water into the church. 

However, repairs to the church roof will be able to go ahead thanks to a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £168,000 and enthusiastic fundraising by local residents and supporters.

The project team is planning a new heritage area, with guides to the church and village for visitors, involving local historians and the local Church of England Primary Academy. 

East Anglian Daily Times:

Reverend Mandy Bishop, Rector for Kessingland said: “St Edmunds is a well-used and growing church.

"From the first step inside you can feel the spirituality of its ancestors and present-day community. 

"The memory of the past is a deep one in Kessingland and unites this community in their heritage of fishing.

“This community, and the campaign to save the church from going into decay, was supported by the school, the local fish shop, MP, Men’s Shed, farmers and the wider community. The £40,000 raised by the villagers is a testament to how much the church is valued here.”

The Church of St Andrew in Wingfield

East Anglian Daily Times:

The Church of St Andrew was built in the mid-14th to early 15th centuries following the founding of Wingfield College by the will of Sir John de Wingfield in 1362. But it is now at risk from deathwatch beetle, a rotting roof, and cracking walls.

Sir John de Wingfield was the eldest son of Robert de Wingfield, a wealthy man from a family of Norman origin, and confidant and financial adviser to Edward of Woodstock (known as the Black Prince).

Sir John’s daughter, Katherine, married Michael de la Pole, 1st Earl of Suffolk. The de la Pole family rose from humble origins to secure important offices of state. And there are striking funerary monuments to the de la Pole family in the church.

East Anglian Daily Times:

The interior of the church features a beautiful medieval nave roof featuring carvings of angels bearing shields. The chancel contains stalls featuring carved poppy heads and panelling. The large plain glass East Window shows fragments of old painted glass in the upper tracery work and features coats of arms.

Cracking on the west and north faces of the tower is of particular concern, along with cracking at the west end of the north aisle. The tower buttress is bulging and there are cracks in the roof canopy. The roof, replaced with pine tiles in the late 1900s, is now rotting and needs replacing. The wooden funerary monuments to the de la Pole family are suffering from deathwatch beetle.

East Anglian Daily Times:

But for other sites in the region, there is better news. 

Here are some of the sites that have been removed from the register:

The Church of All Saints in Stuston

East Anglian Daily Times:

The medieval church has been saved thanks to a 12-year fundraising campaign by villagers.

The church dates to the 12th to 13th centuries, with its octagonal belfry was added to the round tower in the 14th century.

Inside, multi-coloured brickwork in lateral courses of black, buff and red bricks, enhanced with paint, adds a remarkable vibrancy.

The church was at risk as there was structural movement and cracking to the medieval church tower.

While problems with leaks also led to structural movement in the chancel.

Urgent repair work was carried out thanks to grant funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund and others. 

Architect Ruth Blackman, who oversaw the repair work, said: “Being appointed to oversee two phases of repair work to the church at Stuston has been both a privilege and a significant achievement when working so closely with a committed, enthusiastic and determined group of dedicated individuals who have now secured the future of the church.

“I have great admiration for the commitment of the Parochial Church Council at Stuston, and Friends and other supporters, who through their vision for the future have rescued a building that can be used by future generations both for acts of worship and public engagement activities”.

The Harwich Treadwheel Crane

East Anglian Daily Times:

The Harwich Treadwheel Crane is believed to be the only surviving double-wheeled enclosed crane in the medieval tradition in England.

It had long been thought to date from 1667 but recent sampling dated it to the 1700s.

This matches Admiralty records which refer to the construction of a new crane in 1745 after its 1667 predecessor was dismantled following storm damage.

The structure was moved to its present location in 1932 for public display when the dockyard area was redeveloped. Despite being relocated and rebuilt, the structure is substantially authentic.

East Anglian Daily Times:

After research funded by Historic England and Tendring District Council was completed, the government pledged £140,000 towards restoring it.

Works to the structure included the repair of a failed ground slab which was causing subsidence, and sensitive repair of the roof, timber frame and crane. The traditional technique of using Swedish Pine Tar and sailcloth to weatherproof the conical roof was used for probably the first time in around a hundred years. 

The Treadwheel Crane wheels are now working again for the first time in decades.