Tree roots undermine church wall

St Mary's Woodbridge

Large trees are uprooting parts of the church wall at St Mary's Church - Credit: Katy Sandalls

A Woodbridge church is set to undergo serious repair work after large tree roots left its perimeter wall in a dangerous condition. 

The wall of the churchyard at St Mary's in Woodbridge are in need of serious repair because of a large plane tree on its eastern boundary which is pushing over parts of its wall. 

The huge roots from the tree have been encroaching on the churchyard more and more in recent years causing movement to the church's walls and gate piers to a point where there are concerns it could collapse. 

St Mary's Church Woodbridge

Large roots are causing problems outside St Mary's Church in Woodbridge - Credit: Katy Sandalls

The church says there have been issues with the wall for the past 20 years. 

The historic gates which used to be hung in front of the church entrance were taken down at this time and have remained in storage ever since. 


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Both the piers and the walls are Grade II listed and are deemed to be of historic significance. 

The tops of the white and red piers are set to be dismantled as well as the railing panels, down to the level of the coping stones below the railings. 

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They cannot be propped up without causing an obstruction to the gateway and footpath.

East Suffolk Council, which is responsible for the management of closed churchyards, hopes to save as much material as possible. 

Following this emergency work, East Suffolk will work with the Parochial Church Council and the Diocese to rebuild the pillars away from the tree roots.

It's hoped that following this work it may be possible to rehang the metal gates.

Revd. Nigel Prior and his wife Liz Picture: JANICE POULSON

Father Nigel Prior (L) said he was please that work would finally be carried out - Credit: Janice Poulson

Father Nigel Prior from St Mary's said: "I am over the moon."

He said that the wall had become "dangerous" and was glad that steps were being taken by the council to address the issue. 

“East Suffolk Council will be carrying out emergency repair works at St Mary’s Churchyard in Woodbridge in the next couple of weeks," said a spokesman for East Suffolk Council. 

“This comes after a specialist structural engineer determined that the piers at the main entrance, which are Grade II listed and of historic importance, have been impacted by the movement of a nearby large tree root. Work is now required to ensure the piers are structurally sound."

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