Reporter: Anne Grimshaw
The first meeting of the New Year was a talk by the Churches Conservation Trust (CCT) project team including our locally based Development Officer, Allison Burke, on the Trust’s plans to regenerate St Peter’s church with funding from the National Heritage Lottery Fund (NHLF). With reference to their success in other projects, the team looked at what may be possible for Sudbury’s iconic landmark on Market Hill, and how they hope to realise this major project for our town.
We all know St Peter’s as a landmark that dominates (in the nicest possible way) Market Hill and we have all been to events there whether the monthly farmers’ market or the bi-annual Sudbury on Show. We know what a vibrant and welcoming cultural centre St Peter’s is and the CCT want to make it even more so especially as it is Sudbury’s only large venue for public events.
Plans have already been on show displaying the improvements to be made – top of the list are toilets and repairing a leaking roof. More aesthetically but just as important for the church’s guaranteed future use, is a new kitchen area. Plans include a mezzanine floor that allows access to memorials high up on the walls which have been inaccessible for many, many years. The Boer War commemorative window will also be shown off to better advantage than it is now, above the kitchen. It is also hoped to give public access to a grand memorial to Henry Watts Wilkson, Perpetual Curate of St Peter’s and St Gregory’s from 1807 to his death in 1851. At present, this is hidden behind the organ, which is a pity.
St Peter’s is a Grade I listed building and former Anglican church (to 1971), currently maintained and managed by registered charity the Friends of St Peter’s, and national charity CCT.
The regeneration, repair and update has, as mentioned, been awarded initial funding from the NHLF which has enabled the development of plans but to take it further and secure a grant of £2.5 million from the NLHF, matched funding of £248,000 needs to be raised.
If you would like to donate, see www.visitchurches.org.uk/appeal. Cheques are also welcome (made payable to The Churches Conservation Trust). Send to the Churches Conservation Trust, Society Building, 8 All Saints Street, London, N1 9RL or telephone 0800 206 1463.
For further information, see https://www.stpetersudbury.co.uk/