Roof repairs at iconic Suffolk church nearly complete

St John's Church, Bury St Edmunds Picture: ADRIAN MANN

St John's Church, Bury St Edmunds Picture: ADRIAN MANN - Credit: Adrian Mann

A major project to repair the roof of an iconic Suffolk church is due to be completed within weeks.

The St John's East Gable Cross has been replaced Picture: ADRIAN MANN

The St John's East Gable Cross has been replaced Picture: ADRIAN MANN - Credit: Archant

St John's Church, in Bury St Edmunds, which boasts a 170ft spire and has a unique place on the town's skyline, has undergone repairs to its roof and stonework during the £300,000 scheme.

Funding for the project was received from the Heritage Lottery Fund, National Churches Trust, Garfield Weston Foundation and many other trusts and individuals, as well as local fundraising initiatives.

The cross on top of the gable at the east end of the St John's Street church, which had been missing for around 50 years, has been replaced.

Contractors Bakers of Danbury made the replacement, which was dedicated at the Corpus Christi service on June 20.

It has been designed by architect Philip Orchard of Whitworth, based on the recollections of the original by former long-standing churchwarden and professional stonemason Michael Phillips.

The new cross will be revealed over Church Row above roof level when the scaffolding is finally removed.

MORE: Church receives initial National Lottery funding for roof repairsThe full project also includes important heritage and community activities at the church.

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Historical research into the building and the lives of people associated with the church and parish is being undertaken by historians Gabriel Byng and Andrew Bradstock.

This will inform a children's guide to the church, planned tours of Bury St Edmunds and a touchscreen display available for visitors.

Revd Canon Mark Haworth said he was "very pleased" with the project.

"There's a little more stonework to be done, but it's all but finished," he said. "Then it's just a case of getting the scaffolding down.

"The new cross is going to look great. We're looking at getting the church back in pristine condition in the middle of autumn so we're now looking at how best to celebrate that."

Built in 1841, the Grade II-listed church is notable for being constructed mainly of Woolpit white bricks and for the use of innovative building techniques by its architect William Ranger.

It was built to serve Bury's northwards expansion and continues to play an important role in the town today.