Church gets its extension at last

By Sarah ChambersA METICULOUSLY-crafted flint and stone extension has been added to a 16th Century church to give the vicar and the choir more space to prepare for services.

By Sarah Chambers

A METICULOUSLY-crafted flint and stone extension has been added to a 16th Century church to give the vicar and the choir more space to prepare for services.

Care had to be taken to ensure the £234,000 structure would be in keeping with the historic grade II*-listed St Peter and St Paul's Church in Aldeburgh and 21,600 flints were brought in from Wangford for the job.

The stone and flintwork was carried out by Tuddenham-based stonemason Bill Sykes, who used about 800 flints a day.


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The structure was given a leaded roof, while original ornate windows from a smaller extension were reused.

Much of the work on the extension, designed by Norwich-based architect Andrew Anderson, had to be carried out by hand because of the difficulty of getting machinery on site.

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The extension, which is nearing completion, has been under discussion for about 30 years, but planning began in earnest in 1999.

Until now the vicar's changing quarters have been a narrow and uncomfortable closed passageway behind the church organ.

As well as serving as a changing area for clergy and choir, the new building will also serve as a meeting area.

The Rev Peter Robinson, the new parish vicar, said a lot of work had gone into the project.

“Obviously, it's going to affect the life of the church quite a lot. I feel a little bit of a fraud really because I haven't done any of the work. It's a quite a privilege, really,” he added.

Churchwarden Bill Roberts said he was “very pleased” with the work and added the problem of the vestry had finally been addressed.

Church officials had to liaise with about six different bodies including English Heritage and the Diocesan Advisory Committee before construction could begin.

The work was funded by donations, grants, legacies and fundraising by the Friends of the Church.

Among the organisations that awarded grants were the Britten-Pears Foundation, the Turner Charitable Trust, the Norman Scarfe Trust, the Garfield Weston Trust and the All Churches Trust.

A dedication service for the new vestry, attended by the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, the Rt Rev Richard Lewis, takes place on September 14 at 10.30am.

The church will be hosting Arts Alive in Aldeburgh over the Bank Holiday weekend of May 24 to 26 in aid of the vestry appeal.

There will be displays of arts of crafts from bookbinding to calligraphy and flower arranging. Six gardens will also be open and there will be trips to the tower.

sarah.chambers@eadt.co.uk

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