Divine intervention as blaze hits church
A MEDIEVAL Suffolk church appears to have its very own guardian angel.Two years ago thieves stole a haul of silver form All Saint's Church in Barrow, near Bury St Edmunds, but within days the treasures were dumped outside a London monastery and returned undamaged to their rightful home.
A MEDIEVAL Suffolk church appears to have its very own guardian angel.
Two years ago thieves stole a haul of silver form All Saint's Church in Barrow, near Bury St Edmunds, but within days the treasures were dumped outside a London monastery and returned undamaged to their rightful home.
Now a potentially devastating fire – which appears to have torn into floorboards and could easily have burned the building to the ground – has been mysteriously stopped in its tracks just ahead of the altar.
Divine intervention is being credited for saving the historic building by Barrow clergyman Father Peter Macleod Miller and the abrupt quelling of the flames is apparently inexplicable using mere mortal logic.
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Although an alter rail and prayer kneeler were destroyed and a large hole was opened up in the floor of the 1,000-year-old building, Fr Macleod Miller has no doubt that Sunday's blaze met its match from a greater power. The damage was only discovered several days after the incident.
He said: "It is just a miracle that the whole church didn't go up. When we found it, the fire had stopped but why this had happened is perhaps an even greater mystery than how it started.
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"The church has a particular place in the local community and there was a very real threat the fire could have spread to the whole of the building.
"We are so grateful this didn't happen and it makes you appreciate things even more. The fire stopping at the prayer desk does seem like an act of God as we could have lost our church."
Sifting through the charred remains of the fire – which started in the church's St Michael's Chapel and has left a layer of soot over much of the building – he said a massive clean-up operation would now begin.
"The fire was discovered by two church wardens and we believe it must have happened as a result of a candle dropping to the floor," he said.
The church hit the headlines in 2003 when heartless thieves stole thousands of pounds worth of silver including goblets and chalices.
But within days, the valuable haul was dumped outside a London monastery. The hapless crooks were unable to sell the treasures thanks to security markings.