St Edmund's is a Grade I listed church, built from 1430 - 1470, and situated in the centre of the town in a conservation area. It was restored in 1857 by E L Blackburne and in 1866-7 by RM Phipson; the chancel was restored in 1885 and the parclose screens in 1885 by A E Street. The exterior is an excellent example of East Anglian flint work. There is a 4-stage tower supported by diagonal buttresses and with a parapet of quatrefoil flushwork detail. Inside, there are several important heritage features including an elaborately decorated ceiling with carved and painted angels; a fine medieval screen, a spectacular font cover and original - and currently unexposed - 15th century floor tiles. A quirky distinction is Southwold Jack, an armour-clad figure, dating from the Wars of the Roses, who is still called upon to announce the start of services by striking his bell with his battle axe.
The project this grant will support is to install new heating, kitchen facilities, toilets, level access, create a flexible open space, expose original 15th century floor tiles, create a children area and a new viewing floor in the west tower and to improve interpretation.
Top tips from completed project feedback:
- Consult the DAC first before spending any money on architect fees
- Have a competitive tendering process before choosing an architect
- Plan a budget and understand the cash flow while the project is being carried out