Historic church benefits from £230,000 refit

Mark Westley Photography'St Gregorys Church Sudbury �230.000 makeover, a very happy The Reverend Gregory Webb and The Rev Helen Mitchell. ANL-141216-195056009
Mark Westley Photography'St Gregorys Church Sudbury �230.000 makeover, a very happy The Reverend Gregory Webb and The Rev Helen Mitchell. ANL-141216-195056009

A historic church with links to Simon of Sudbury has been transformed thanks to a £230,000 refit funded by supporters’ legacies.

The final touches are currently being added to a programme of improvements at St Gregory’ Church in Sudbury.

It means that, after 20 years of waiting, parishioners will have their own toilet facilities, while a new servery, including cooking facilities, has been built, offering the chance for the building to be used as a community hall.

The Rev Gregory Webb said he thought the design was wonderful and praised the scheme’s architect for retaining the site’s historic character.

Up until now, the church’s 6,000 yearly visitors have had to walk to Walnuttree Hospital to spend a penny, but will now be able to take advantage of two toilets built in the church tower.

Above this is a new balcony area, which offers spectacular views across the church, also opening up a previously hidden stained glass window.

“We have now got views of the window and views of the church we have never seen before,” said associate church priest Helen Mitchell.

As part of the ambitious project, the vestry – previously an unusable storage area – has been revamped, with two separate floors offering a comfortable office and meeting area, as well as a practical first-floor storage room.

Overall, Mrs Mitchell said she was delighted with the work.

“The building is so much more usable,” she said. “It just transforms it.”

The church was largely built in the 14th century using money from the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Simon of Sudbury, whose severed head is still kept in the vestry, cut off during the Peasants’ Revolt.

Despite the large outlay on the improvements, money for further repairs is still needed.

Mr Webb is hoping the church coffers will stretch to fixing the heating motor, which has broken.