Bury St Edmunds church receives initial National Lottery funding for roof repairs
- Credit: Adrian Mann
A Bury St Edmunds church which has one of the tallest spires in the county has received initial funding support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for major roof repairs.
St John’s Church, based in the centre of town, was built in 1841 and the roof - which has protected the building for the past 175 years – is in dire need of repair.
Slates on top of the building have crumbled and the lead gutters are torn, which has led to the unprotected rafters underneath beginning to rot due to rainwater seeping in.
Initial investigations into the work, which may involve a temporary roof being placed over the St John’s Street building, estimate the full cost at more than £300,000.
Over the next year, aided by £22,300 of development funding from HLF, the Grade II-listed church will ascertain the true extent of the damage and how best to remedy the problem.
This will enable St John’s, known for its landmark spire, to progress their plans and apply for a full HLF grant next year.
The full project plans include heritage and community activities such as a children’s guide to the church, tours of Victorian Bury St Edmunds and a timeline display relating church, local and national history.
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A historical research internship into the lives of characters associated with the church and parish is also being considered.
St John’s is notable for being constructed mainly of local Woolpit white bricks and for the use of innovative building techniques by its architect William Ranger.
It was built to serve Bury’s northwards expansion and continues to have a varied and important community role.
With the encouragement of Lord Arthur Charles Hervey, who was to become the Bishop of Bath and Wells, the cost of the church was raised by public subscription and it was dedicated in October 1841.
Reverend Canon Mark Haworth said: “We’re delighted that we’ve received this support thanks to National Lottery players.
“This will secure the future of St John’s as a centre of worship and community life and means that we have an opportunity to explain its heritage and tell the story of its life over the past 175 years.”
St John’s is an Anglican catholic church with a clearly affirming and inclusive approach.