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Major project announced for 1,000th anniversary of Abbey of St Edmund and future conservation

PUBLISHED: 14:54 08 June 2018

The Abbey ruins and the River Lark Picture: ANDREW MURTIMER

The Abbey ruins and the River Lark Picture: ANDREW MURTIMER

(c) copyright citizenside.com

A major project to celebrate the 1,000th anniversary of the Abbey of St Edmund has been announced after Heritage Lottery Fund cash was secured.

St Edmunds Cathedral and Borough Council get £40k funding from Historic England to preserve the Abbey Ruins.St Edmunds Cathedral and Borough Council get £40k funding from Historic England to preserve the Abbey Ruins.

The year 2020 will mark 1,000 years since King Canute founded the abbey in Bury St Edmunds, and a special project has been established to mark the anniversary and drive conservation improvements.

The Abbey of St Edmund Heritage Partnership last year commissioned a heritage assessment and conservation plan for the site, funded by the borough council and Historic England.

The results of these will be published in the autumn, where recommendations for conservation and education projects will be made.

Joanna Rayner said it was about celebrating Bury's heritage Picture: GREGG BROWNJoanna Rayner said it was about celebrating Bury's heritage Picture: GREGG BROWN

The HLF has funded £9,900 to establish a not-for-profit organisation to oversee the heritage and education projects, as well as future fundraising once these have been published.

Joanna Rayner, cabinet Member for leisure and culture at St Edmundsbury Borough Council said: “It is brilliant to have the backing of the Heritage Lottery Fund. This exciting work is really about recognising how important this town and the Abbey once was, what lies behind the story of the ruins and the beautiful landscape that attracts more than a million visits each year. It is about celebrating that history and heritage that make us proud to say we love where we live.”

While work on safeguarding the site’s future continues, plans to mark the 1,000th anniversary in two years time are also being formulated, which will include all of the research and printed history of the abbey being brought together for the first time, and work with schools to commemorate it’s rich history.

Canon Matthew Vernon was delighted the lottery funding was secured Picture: GREGG BROWNCanon Matthew Vernon was delighted the lottery funding was secured Picture: GREGG BROWN

The abbey was the second largest Romanesque church in England in 1090, smaller only than Winchester.

Reverend Canon Matthew Vernon chairman of the Heritage Partnership, said: “The Abbey of St Edmund Heritage Partnership is delighted that its application to the Heritage Lottery Fund ‘Resilient Heritage’ programme has been approved.

“This will enable us to develop our organisational capabilities to ‘gear up’ to act on the results of the two current consultancy studies which will be reporting in the autumn and to develop our preparations for the millennium celebrations of the foundation of the Abbey of St Edmund.”

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