Author with passion for Suffolk’s churches and countryside will live on through critically acclaimed book
- Credit: Family
The family of an author who sought to inspire “secret heroes” to protect Suffolk’s historic churches hopes his legacy will live on through his work.
John Rogers’ book The Undelivered Mardle was met with critical acclaim in 2012, winning praise from the then Archbishop of Canterbury and Bishop of Dunwich, among others.
In telling the story of a small church in Letheringham, near Framlingham, John was able to explore deeper cultural issues around the role of churches, both for believers and nonbelievers.
This summer, the author, who lived in Rendham, near Saxmundham, returned to his book, leaving 50 copies in churches around the county. He hoped to provoke a debate about the enduring importance of churches – particularly with so many facing risk of closure.
John invited visitors to borrow a copy and read it, in return for a donation to the church. He asked for the book to be left in another church – for others to discover.
Sadly, John had an illness which escalated soon after the start of his project and he died, aged 81, on July 26.
His daughter, Lucinda Rogers, who illustrated the book, said her family would always be able to remember John through its pages. “He was always encouraging us to think more about the world that lay beyond our little lives and this book will be his legacy,” she said.
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Lucinda said that despite his concerns about the challenges facing many churches, her father remained optimistic. “He believed there were ‘secret heroes’, who may not have been regular members of the congregation, but who still valued what churches represent and would step up to protect and preserve these buildings,” she added. “That’s what my father hoped to do with this project, and it’s what we hope his legacy can achieve.”
Before his retirement in Suffolk, John taught at Bedales School in Hampshire. Lucinda said he was an “inspiring” teacher with an unusual approach, which valued practical, outdoor skills as highly as academic knowledge.
Since his death, she said the family had been “overwhelmed” by messages of support, many from former pupils. “It’s been really heartwarming,” she added.
John was also known for his love of the Suffolk countryside, where he would plant woodlands and ran a business called ‘Secret Gardens’.
He leaves behind wife Josephine, daughters Lucinda and Hannah and grandsons Noah, Barnaby and Gabriel.
Visit johnrogersmardle.com for more information about the book and his work.