Memorial unveiled to Christian pioneer

A MEMORIAL has been unveiled to a Suffolk saint who set up one of the earliest Christian communities in East Anglia.Henry Tebbutt, an artist based in Woodbridge, was commissioned to carve a wooden cross to commemorate St Botolph, a saint who lived in Suffolk during the seventh century.

A MEMORIAL has been unveiled to a Suffolk saint who set up one of the earliest Christian communities in East Anglia.

Henry Tebbutt, an artist based in Woodbridge, was commissioned to carve a wooden cross to commemorate St Botolph, a saint who lived in Suffolk during the seventh century.

The cross has been installed at Iken Cliff picnic site, near Snape. A new information board has been provided at the nearby Iken Church to tell the story of St Botolph with a series of specially drawn pictures of the saint and the cross.

The tourism initiative has been organised by the county council's Friars to Flyers heritage project with funding from the council and the East of England Development Agency.


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In 1977 a piece of the original cross's stone shaft was found in Iken Church and is thought that this cross was erected to the memory of St Botolph in the 10th century.

Mr Tebbutt took designs from this and two other stone crosses found elsewhere in the county and carved a cross out of oak.

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Susan Brookes, the council's heritage promotion officer, said: ''St Botolph set up one of the earliest Christian communities in East Anglia in 654 at 'Icanho.' Ho means headland and historians believe that Icanho is in fact Iken and the discovery of the stone shaft confirmed this theory.

''It has been exciting to see the cross being carved. The original stone cross would have been about three metres high and only a part of it survives. Henry has worked with the archaeologists to create a design. The cross will look impressive and be a reminder of Iken's history.

''The saint introduced the Benedictine rule for his monks. He died fairly peacefully and then after his death the Vikings raised the coast and ransacked the church and burnt it down. His monks removed his bones and it is thought that the stone cross was then put up as a memorial to St Botolph.''

Botolph, who died in 680, has been described as a ''man of unparalleled life and learning, full of the grace of the Holy Spirit.''

richard.smith@eadt.co.uk

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