Overcast

Overcast

max temp: 27°C

min temp: 17°C

Search

New life for old chapel

13:29 04 July 2008

EADT

Words Mark Lord

Leiston Abbey chapel on Minsmere Reserve

The ruins of the ancient chapel that is all that remains of the original leiston Abbey at Minsmere Reserve

Picture by Jerry Turner
2/7/08

EADT 3/7/08

EADT Words Mark Lord Leiston Abbey chapel on Minsmere Reserve The ruins of the ancient chapel that is all that remains of the original leiston Abbey at Minsmere Reserve Picture by Jerry Turner 2/7/08 EADT 3/7/08

A SIGNIFICANT piece of Suffolk's medieval past - known to thousands of visitors to Suffolk's top nature reserve - has been preserved.

A SIGNIFICANT piece of Suffolk's medieval past - known to thousands of visitors to Suffolk's top nature reserve - has been preserved.

The small chapel, which lies on coastal marshland at Minsmere, near Leiston, has been protected from the ravages of time thanks to help from heritage bosses.

It is the second piece of the area's ancient history to be preserved and heralded as being of national importance - last month an early medieval boat was uncovered at Sizewell.

The conservation of Leiston Chapel has given archaeologists a valuable insight into how the land was used dating back to 1182.

The RSPB was given £35,600 by English Heritage and £12,000 from Natural England to conserve and repair the crumbling walls of the chapel under the proviso that it commissioned a thorough evaluation first.

This research was led by Suffolk County Council's Archaeological Conservation Team and confirmed the chapel is situated in the centre of what was originally a Premonstratensian Abbey.

Leiston Abbey, formerly known as St Mary's Abbey, was founded in 1182 near Minsmere by Ranulf de Glanville, Lord Chief Justice to King Henry II.

Fearing an increased risk of flooding, the monks abandoned the abbey in 1363, and a new complex was built two and a half miles further inland by Robert de Ufford, Earl of Suffolk.

Documentary evidence suggests that a presence was maintained on the original site until the dissolution in 1537 and Leiston Chapel is the only surviving evidence of this continuing occupation.

John Ette, ancient monuments inspector for English Heritage in the east region, said: “This is of great archaeological importance, being the early site of the Leiston Abbey and where the monks created their community before they were inundated by coastal processes.

“The chapel is the last surviving element and it sits on a hill in the most amazing setting in the nature reserve.

“It may appear that very little is left of the abbey but what is here is of great importance. This and the other Leiston Abbey are the only Premonstratensian sites in Suffolk.”

Stuart Boulter, archaeologist for Suffolk County Council, said: “The chapel has three phases of building showing the different periods of restoration it has been through and helps us back up the belief that after the abbey was transferred to Leiston this chapel was still inhabited.”

The chapel also played a surprising role in during the Second World War, when a concrete pillbox and machine gun emplacement was inserted into the eastern end of the structure.

Ian Barthorpe, spokesman for RSPB Minsmere, said: “Many of our visitors ask about the building in the middle of marshes, allowing us to tell its fascinating story.

“Twice a year I organise walks past the chapel and it gives me the opportunity to tell how its history relates to the current landscape of Minsmere and how its inhabitants over the years have helped shape this part of the reserve.”

0 comments

Marcus Evans

Brazilian police investigating allegations of Olympic ticket-touting have released emails between a senior Irish official and Ipswich Town Football Club owner Marcus Evans.

Tower Ramparts, Ipswich, as staff poured from William Prettys works in the mid 1890s

The site of one of Ipswich’s major employers until the 1980s - Willaim Pretty’s - is now a car park, writes David Kindred.

Andrew Bloomfield took this photo of Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service fighting the fire in the old Fisons building in Paper Mill Lane, Bramford.

A fire at the old Fisons building in Paper Mill Lane, Bramford, has been extinguished.

South East Suffolk Magistrates' Court

A rap-loving noisy neighbour has been taken to court for continually disturbing his Ipswich neighbours with his music.

Ben Gummer, left, at the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and EADT EU referendum debate at UCS in Ipswich

In the third of five three-minute interviews, Ipswich MP Ben Gummer reflects on the European Union referendum and what it means for the town.

Aldeburgh beach was packed with people enjoying the sun on Wednesday 24th August.
L-R Chris and Jane Linford,Jan and Ken Garratt.

With the school summer holidays drawing to an end East Anglia’s tourist hotspots are gearing up for bumper crowds looking to make the most of the bank holiday weekend.

Skye Biggs with her mum Lana Heath.

All little Skye Biggs, of Felixstowe, wants from life is a day devoted to her favourite TV character.

The winner of the Get Caught Reading competition was Amanda Williams who sent in a photo of her daughters Cahir and Eira sitting in lockers at Haverhill swimming pool.

Dozens of creative entries have been submitted into the Suffolk Libraries Get Caught Reading and Bookface competitions as a means to inspire readers.

Fire station in Princes Street, lpswich

One of two full-time appliances based at Princes Street in the town has left the station as part of the shake up of Suffolk’s fire services approved earlier this year.

St Elizabeth Hospice have revealed a new pig   Dr Trott and Nurse Honey-Cured

The Pigs Gone Wild trail has just days left to run but before we say Ta Ta Trotters, we want to know which is your favourite pig.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

MyDate24 MyPhotos24