Ickworth: Service of blessing marks completion of church restoration

St Mary's Church at Ickworth

St Mary's Church at Ickworth - Credit: Archant

The first service in 30 years has been held at a west Suffolk church following the completion of a £1.2million restoration project.

St Mary’s Church at Ickworth had fallen into severe disrepair, but it has been brought back into use thanks to an initiative spearheaded by the 8th Marquess of Bristol, Frederick Hervey, whose family have been buried there for 600 years.

This evening, the Right Reverend Nigel Stock, Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich, conducted a service of blessing at St Mary’s, which was attended by those who have been involved in the restoration project, people from the estate and nearby village of Horringer, the Mayor of St Edmundsbury Terry Buckle and children from Ickworth Park Primary School who performed a number of songs.

Ahead of the service, Lord Bristol said: “It’s been a long, long slog, but I’m really pleased. I never even thought it would look this good actually. When I first came in here in 2005 when I got ownership of it it was in a real state.”

Some of the key features which the public can now admire are the 14th to 15th-Century Flemish glass roundels and a 15th-Century wall painting.

Simon Pott, a trustee of the Ickworth Church Conservation Trust (ICCT), said St Mary’s would be open to the public at weekends from this weekend.

It will be used for services, as well as other uses, with possibilities ranging from small concerts to art exhibitions.

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The main funders for the restoration project were English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

For the full story read Thursday’s East Anglian Daily Times.