Ancient church’s history and roof to be preserved thanks to lottery grant

Great Bricett Church - a former 12th century priory - is set for a lottery grant

Great Bricett Church - a former 12th century priory - is set for a lottery grant - Credit: Archant

A Suffolk church which has been used for worship for more than 900 years is in line for a vital lottery grant to help preserve it for decades to come.

St Mary and St Lawrence Church, Great Bricett, was originally an Augustinian Priory, dating back to 1107.

Recent research work has been undertaken to uncover its rich history and the National Lottery funding will enable the heritage project to be built on to finish the remarkable history of the unusual building, while completing urgent repairs to its roof.

The Parochial Church Council (PCC) of St Mary and St Lawrence has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) – development funding of £9,500 has been awarded to help the PCC progress its plans to apply for a full grant of £78,900 at a later date.

Churchwarden Arland Shawe-Taylor said: “We’re delighted that we have received this support thanks to National Lottery players.

“The opportunity to enable much wider knowledge of the amazing history of this building and to ensure its survival for the future is a huge privilege”

The privately-funded research into the history of the church – undertaken by local historian Edward Martin with the support of Oliver Cooper – found the priory was founded in 1107 and dissolved in 1444, when all its possessions were granted to King’s College, Cambridge.

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The college still has extensive documentation on the priory right back to 1100, bringing a unique opportunity to visit the past.

The aim is to make the history widely available to today’s audiences both online and as a new guide to the building. There will be the opportunity for visits and lectures for local societies or educational establishments and to form links with other former Augustinian Priory sites.

The repairs to the roof will ensure its survival into the future.

The building today appears modest but bears many indications of its remarkable heritage. The former monastery quadrangle to the north side is now the garden of Gt Bricett Hall, which was also part of the monastery and is structurally joined to the church.

? Mr Martin will be presenting his findings, under the title Saints, Canons and Knights in a Suffolk Landscape, in the church on October 12 at 7.30pm. HLF support is enabling the event to be free entry.

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