The Restoration of Blythburgh Church, 1881-1906

May 2017
8 colour, 15 black and white, 1 line illustrations
383 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Suffolk Records Society
ISBN: 9781783271672
Format: Hardback
Suffolk Records Society
Boydell Press
BISAC HIS015000, HIS037060, ARC005000

The Restoration of Blythburgh Church, 1881-1906

The Dispute between the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings and the Blythburgh Church Restoration Committee

Edited by Alan Mackley

Edition of original letters and other documents sheds light on a major ecclesiastical controversy.
In 1881, after decades of mouldering into ruin, the grand fifteenth-century church of Blythburgh, Suffolk, "The Cathedral of the Marshes", was closed as unsafe. The church was saved - but its rescue involved a bitter twenty-five year long dispute between Blythburgh vicars and committees, and William Morris and his Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, who feared that the medieval fabric would be over-restored and the character of the building lost forever.
This volume presents an edition, with notes and introduction, of original documents from both sides - providing unique insights into a rancorous conflict, with vicars pitted against patrons as well as the Society. The need was local, but the significance national, with elites ranged against another. From a description of the Blythburgh committee headed by a royal princess, to accounts of lavish fund-raising fetes and garden parties, the story is vividly brought to life.

Alan Mackley, an honorary research fellow at the University of East Anglia, studied history after a career as a scientist in the oil industry. He has lived in Suffolk for over 35 years.

Table of Contents

Editorial Practice
Blythburgh Church Restoration Committee Minute Book
Churchwardens' Accounts
Appendix A: Architects' and Contractors' Reports and Costs
Appendix B: Appeals and Donations
Appendix C: Printed Notices, Reports and Articles
Appendix D: Notes on People


Brings together all the correspondence, paperwork and detail to be found on this saga, including much from the SPAB's files...Today, the church is well loved and much visisted. SPAB MAGAZINE

An important contribution to our understanding of the issues and principles underpinning modern building conservation...will be of interest to everyone involved in the restoration of historic buildings far beyond the boundaries of Blythburgh. THE LOCAL HISTORIAN

A wonderful local record, as well as an insight to the past personalities of a parish. SUFFOLK VIEW

A tale of rancour, fêtes, princesses, and William Morris, told in original documents, scrupulously edited by Alan Mackley. CHURCH TIMES

This is 'gold'...What a fascinating story about Blythburgh Church. EAST ANGLIAN DAILY TIMES

Will prove a valuable tool to subsequent researchers. EASTERN DAILY PRESS

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