At the sign of the Barking lion...

All Saints, Bury St Edmunds

At the sign of the Barking lion...

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Bury All Saints


    Here we are in the polite western suburbs of Bury St Edmunds, not that far from the town centre really in the great scheme of things. And All Saints is a polite brick building, put up in 1962 to the designs of Cecil Beardsmore Smith. He ignored the modernist tendencies of the time, incorporating some faux-Elizabethan features into what is otherwise indistinguishable from many schools and churches of the time.
And that would be it, I suppose, were it not for the fascinating detail that the Lady Chapel of the church has an altar piece by the great Ellen Mary Rope, one of that great family of Suffolk Arts and Crafts artists whose work can be found in a dozen churches across the county and, of course, far beyond.

Despite half a dozen attempts over the years, I have never seen that altar piece. My most recent visit was during the Open Churches Week of August 2011, when, despite being listed on the website, All Saints was still firmly locked against all-comers. So there we are. Sam Mortlock found other points of interest too, including an oak lectern which he described as being of 'some character'. Apparently it has a Greek inscription below the eagle, and CJC 1939. If that was the date of its dedication, then it must necessarily have come from another church. I wonder where?


Simon Knott, October 2011

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