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Invitation to Open Churches Week

PUBLISHED: 09:58 18 July 2010 | UPDATED: 21:56 01 August 2010

More than 400 churches across Suffolk are celebrating Open Churches Week which began on Saturday and runs until Friday .

Some are offering tours of their centuries-old buildings, others are staging elaborate flower festivals or local exhibitions, but by far the most popular offering is tea and homemade cake.

More than 400 churches across Suffolk are celebrating Open Churches Week which began on Saturday and runs until Friday .

Some are offering tours of their centuries-old buildings, others are staging elaborate flower festivals or local exhibitions, but by far the most popular offering is tea and homemade cake.

It is the fourth year that the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich has used the week to showcase Suffolk's churches which include more than 400 grade one or grade two listed buildings.

Many are in designated areas of outstanding natural beauty and unrivalled for their rich history and architecture.

Suffolk is renowned for its 15th century perpendicular architecture and visitors are invited to look for exquisite flushwork panelling achieved with shiny knapped flints in the towers of Eye, Lavenham and Southwold.

Visitors are also urged to admire the grandeur of Long Melford, Mildenhall and Stoke by Nayland reflecting the riches of the wool cloth trade, and seek out medieval treasures such as Troston and Thornham Parva.

The event gives people the chance to see inside churches that are normally closed to the public such as the 14th century Stowlangtoft St George with its treasured Flemish panels or Leiston St Margaret, designed by Edward Lamb to a cruciform plan.

“Open Churches Week helps churches to open with confidence and I hope that one day we shall see all 478 churches in the diocese open for all-comers,” said Marion Welham, church buildings and tourism officer.

She said Open Churches Week was gaining a following among those seeking a more creative and sustainable brand of tourism.

Log on to www.stedmundsbury.anglican.org to find more details.

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