TL9849 : St Mary Magdalene Church, Bildeston

taken 8 years ago, near to Bildeston, Suffolk, Great Britain

St Mary Magdalene Church, Bildeston
St Mary Magdalene Church, Bildeston
Despite the antiquity of many of the houses in Bildeston itself, the church is situated a good ten-minute walk away from the town. Its rather unusual wooden spire is the result of a disastrous Ascension Day (Thursday 8th May) in 1975, when the stone tower collapsed, fortunately injuring no one. Following three days of high winds, 8th May was a quiet day until, three hours after the congregation had departed following a communion service, the tower crashed through the roof of the nave.

Builders were working on the church, preparing to add a structural beam to strengthen the tower. The bells had already been removed and were stored in the cellar of the rectory.

A dramatic contemporary account reported: "The day it happened was a quiet morning. When we came out of the communion service the builder came to me and said he was very worried about movements in the cracks. They were still working on the tower when everything went quiet - it must have been a sort of builder's sixth sense that warned them - then after the dead silence came a rustling sound from within. Little spurts of mortar were coming from the cracks. They realised what was happening. With one minute to spare they leapt over the wall and saw everything come down. For the first time in 500 years no one climbed the hill to church that Sunday."

Following an appeal to restore the tower, and Lottery funding amounting to 232,000, the new tower was completed 22 years later and the old bells were re-hung. A service to commemorate the new tower was held on Advent Sunday, 30th November 1997.
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TL9849, 39 images   (more nearby )
  (find more nearby)
Date Taken
Tuesday, 26 January, 2010   (more nearby)
Wednesday, 27 January, 2010
Church (Church of England)   (more nearby)
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TL 985 491 [100m precision]
WGS84: 52:6.3173N 0:53.9026E
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TL 986 491
View Direction
NORTH (about 0 degrees)
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