Village rectory goes up for sale

A FORMER Edwardian rectory set within half an acre is being sold off by the diocese for £375,000, despite fears that part of the Church's local heritage could be lost forever.

By John Howard

A FORMER Edwardian rectory set within half an acre is being sold off by the diocese for £375,000, despite fears that part of the Church's local heritage could be lost forever.

The Rectory, at Stanton, near Bury St Edmunds, has been placed with estate agents by the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich.

The home is thought to date from the early 20th Century and although not always within Church ownership, is understood to have been so for about half a century. Campaigners say traditional rectories are part of our heritage and there are sound reasons to keep them.


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Anthony Jennings, director of Save Our Parsonages (SOP), which was established to oppose the Church selling off its traditional rectories and vicarages, said: “Traditional rectories and vicarages are part of our ecclesiastical heritage, just as much as churches, and they are also major resources.

“They are focal points for parish and community life. The economic arguments for retaining these fine houses are equally strong. Sales bring short-term gains for the Church, but long-term losses.

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“Clergy and parishioners alike regularly find themselves linked in opposition to ill-advised sales forced on them by remote diocesan representatives.”

The imposing property stands within large grounds at the end of a sweeping drive and includes a reception hall, four bedrooms, a large sitting room, dining room, study, kitchen and utility room.

Retired clergyman and former rural dean locally Rev Frank Howard, rector from 1976 to 1997 at Stanton, said: “We have very happy memories of over 20 years in Stanton, but the garden was over large for a busy rector, and the house was not ideal.”

And Nicola Andrews, deputy chief executive with responsibility for administration and property with the diocese, said: “There are still several parsonage houses in the diocese which don't meet with current day guidelines and the rectory at Stanton is one of those that has been on the replacement list for sometime.

“We are delighted that we have now been able to purchase a modern house which is conveniently located in the village near to the church. This represents another positive step towards the modernisation of our housing portfolio.”

Stanton used to be a parish with its own priest, but 10 years ago was linked with four other villages, Hopton, Coney Weston, Market Weston and Barningham, and a permanent curate based at Barningham appointed to share the increasing workload with the new parish priest.

The current priest the Rev Moira Hansen has had to retire early through ill health and a new clergyman is being sought, but whoever takes up the post will no longer be living at the rectory, which is for sale with estate agents Bedfords.

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