At-risk Kessingland church raises funding for Lowestoft


15:03 16 January 2022

It has been at the heart of a community for over 500 years.

And a project to restore and improve a historic coastal church has now received a major financial boost.

The Grade I listed St Edmund’s Church in Kessingland, near Lowestoft, has been awarded a ‘crucial’ £168,000 prize from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to preserve the building for future generations.

St. Edmund’s Church in Kessingland, near Lowestoft.
– Credit: Nick Butcher

Delighted officials have said a program to carry out “essential urgent repairs” to the church in Church Road, Kessingland, can now go ahead following increased funding.

A church spokesperson said: “This follows a request made with the support of the community, including Waveney MP Peter Aldous, Kessingland Parish Council, the village’s C of E Primary Academy and a wide range of village enterprises and voluntary groups.

MP Peter Aldous, who represents Waveney.  PHOTO: Jamie Honeywood

MP Peter Aldous, who represents Waveney. PHOTO: Jamie Honeywood
– Credit: Archant

“The church has a beautiful outcropping flint tower, a landmark for sailors since its construction in the middle of the 15th century and which preserves many memories of the village’s fishing heritage.

“However, the 17th century thatched roof is in a dilapidated state and with further water damage to the buttresses the church has been officially declared ‘at risk’ and in danger of closure.

“The project is expected to cost around £220,000 in total, of which more than £37,000 of that has already been raised by local residents and supporters.”

St. Edmund's Church in Kessingland, near Lowestoft.

St. Edmund’s Church in Kessingland, near Lowestoft.
– Credit: Nick Butcher

In August 2018 a call went out to raise the roof at St Edmunds Church with fundraising events held and people invited to ‘sponsor a thatch lot’.

Now, with funding from the grant, the work will see the creation of a new heritage area in the church and new church and village guides, with the involvement of the Primary Academy to “enhance the attractiveness of the church and the village for visitors”.

The cemetery will also be made more wildlife-friendly.

Kessingland Benefice Rector Reverend Mandy Bishop said: “We are delighted to receive this funding.

“This validates the tremendous local support and effort that has gone into securing the long-term future of this vital building for our community.

“Now, thanks to all National Lottery players and all donors and fundraisers, the project will restore St Edmund’s roof so it can continue to serve its community well into the 21st century.”


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