Medieval pageant set for Suffolk church to celebrate securing £56,000 for repairs
PUBLISHED: 13:07 05 August 2018 | UPDATED: 13:07 05 August 2018
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A west Suffolk church has been boosted by more than £56,000 in grants for "urgent and important" refurbishment work to preserve the 13th Century building for future generations.
St Peter and St Paul’s Church, which sits at the heart of Bardwell, near Bury St Edmunds, has received a National Churches Trust Repair Grant of £10,000 and a Heritage Lottery Fund sum of £46,300 to help fund repairs to medieval stained glass windows, slate roofing and masonry.
Churchwarden Dinkie Williamson said: “This will help to ensure that the unique and important heritage of this fine Grade I-listed building will be preserved for future generations to enjoy.”
She added: “It will be a very exciting and special opportunity for the community of Bardwell and will increase the number of visitors to this beautiful historic church.”
The stained glass windows feature the image of Sir William de Berdewell – the church’s main historic benefactor – with the funding helping to explore his history, including life during the Peasant’s Revolt and Hundred Years War.
Ms Williamson said: “A new research group is forming and experts will give talks about the stained glass and its conservation.
“From these, children’s church trails will be produced, volunteers trained as church guides and history and arts and craft sessions provided for children at the local primary school.
“The highlight will be holding a pageant for the community including performances, archery and music where these historic times will be enacted.”
Work to take place includes replacing cracked stone mullions around the medieval stained glass, alongside cleaning, repairing, and conserving the stained glass.
Other improvements include repairs to decaying stones around windows and other decaying masonry and flint work.
Ms Williamson said the church was an important part of Suffolk’s tourism trail, but a lack of kitchen and toilet facilities meant it couldn’t always meet the needs of its visitors.
A separate fundraising drive has therefore been started to fund those facilities, estimated to cost around £144,000.
It is understood around 60% of that cash has been secured already, with further fundraising and match-funding set for the next six months.