New statues unveiled

IT'S something Ipswich has not seen for more than 350 years - statues depicting key figures in the life of Christ over the entrance to one of its most historic town centre churches.

IT'S something Ipswich has not seen for more than 350 years - statues depicting key figures in the life of Christ over the entrance to one of its most historic town centre churches.

The three statues - known as a triptych - are believed to have been removed during the reformation.

The niches where they once stood have been empty for centuries - but now they have been filled by York-based sculptor Charles Gurrey.

Today the new triptych will be consecrated at a special service by the Bishop of Richborough, Rt Rev Keith Newton.

No one knows exactly which saints were depicted in the original statues - there are no surviving records of them.

They have been replaced by three new contemporary statues.

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In the middle is a figure of Christ giving a blessing as saviour of the world. It is flanked by statues of St John the Evangelist and the Virgin Mary.

She is represented as the Star of the Sea (Stella Maris) - highly appropriate for a port town like Ipswich.

Vicar of St Mary at the Elms Father Haley Dossor said it was not certain when the former statues disappeared.

“We are pretty sure it was during the reformation, there are still axe-marks to show where they were hacked out.

“But we don't know whether it was during the first wave of the reformation, in the 1530s, or during the puritan era around the Civil War.

“Neither do we know exactly what they depicted - but we are sure it was this kind of thing.”

Fr Dossor said the statues had been designed with a contemporary look - but one that was in keeping with the Medieval church.

“We didn't want a pastiche of what might have been here before, I am very pleased with them,” he said.

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