New spire for Woodbridge

A NEW landmark spire will be lifted and placed on the tower of St John's Church, Woodbridge on Wednesday . Members of the church expressed their thanks to the anonymous donor whose generosity has enabled the spire on the church to be replaced.

By Tracey Sparling

A NEW landmark spire will be lifted and placed on the tower of St John's Church, Woodbridge on Wednesday .

Members of the church expressed their thanks to the anonymous donor whose generosity has enabled the spire on the church to be replaced.

The spire, weighing six tons and 47 ft tall, was built on land beside the church.


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It will have to be raised 66 ft by a very large mobile crane situated on a lower level in Castle Street, and 100ft from the base of the tower.

The operation requires special lifting tackle to keep the spire upright and can be performed only if the wind speed is low.

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When the church was built in 1846, its prominent feature was an elegant tapering stone spire supported by eight pillars.

This spire, which reached a height of 138 feet above the base of the church, was a major landmark, especially when Woodbridge was viewed from the river. An artist who painted Woodbridge in 1896 from the East side of the Deben depicted St John's with its spire as the main architectural feature of the northern part of the town.

But during the early 1970s, the original spire was found to be unsafe, due to corrosion of iron used between stones in its construction, and it had to be demolished.

The tower of the church then appeared incomplete.

In 1997, a resident of Woodbridge, who is not a member of the church, offered a sum of money sufficient to cover the total cost of rebuilding a spire.

The new spire bears a strong resemblance to the original though at a total height of 113 feet it is not quite as tall.

Woodbridge Town Council has welcomed restoration of the distinctive

landmark.

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