Carols by candlelight at Ramsholt

ONE of Suffolk's ancient and tucked away churches will this week be filled with festive cheer as it stages its popular annual candlelit Christmas carol service.

ONE of Suffolk's ancient and tucked away churches will this week be filled with festive cheer as it stages its popular annual candlelit Christmas carol service.

Ramsholt Church is usually not used in the evenings in winter because it has no electricity supply.

But the church - which overlooks the River Deben - is expected to be full on Sunday when it will be beautifully lit by candles and oil lamps and resound to the great songs of the season.

The service of nine lessons and carols, led by vicar Rev Geoffrey Clement, starts at 6.30pm.

The church is tucked away by the river, sitting in flat bare fields along a sandy road which peters out into a track beyond the church.

In daylight, across the quiet river, the spire of St John's Church at Felixstowe six miles away is visible and Trimley water tower.

Most Read

In summer, it is visited by many walkers, especially those visiting the pub and foreshore and exploring the area, but in winter it can be a lonely and bleak place.

Smugglers' moll Margaret Catchpole is said to have sat in the tower with a light signalling that it was safe to land illegal booty.

Mr Clement said a generator would be brought in on Sunday to flood-light the outside of the church, while inside there would be lamps and candles.

He said: “Because the church has no electricity supply, we don't hold evening services in winter though we have two morning services every month.

“But the carols by candlelight is a bit special and we expect the church to be full. It holds 80 to 90, but with a bit of goose grease and a shoehorn, we can squeeze in about 110.”

With no heating it may be a bit chilly inside, so people should come prepared. There is parking along the road verge.

If you attend the service, write and let us know if you enjoyed it. Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

FACTFILE: Ramsholt Church

Historians believe a church has stood on the site overlooking the Deben for more than 1,000 years, though the current oval towered building was probably started in Norman times and mostly dates from the medieval period.

One of the most interesting of its artefacts is not what appears to be - what looks like a fine 13th century stone coffin, was actually used for washing and preparing the dead before burial.

In medieval times, when Edward III's fleet was moored in the estuary below, Ramsholt would have been a thriving and busy settlement, where as today it is a tranquil backwater though popular in summer with visitors.

The church and its graveyard were used as a setting for a BBC production of Great Expectations.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter