Lowestoft church hailed a national gem

Victoria NichollsA historic Lowestoft church has been hailed by architects as the 'the grandest and in origin the oldest building in the town' and a nationally significant building.Victoria Nicholls

A historic Lowestoft church has been hailed by architects as the "the grandest and, in origin, the oldest building in the town" and a nationally significant building.

And its church workers have been congratulated by experts for

their efforts in keeping it in top condition.

Now the rector is urging people to visit and enjoy the architecture of St Margaret's Church in Hollingsworth Road, after it received praise following a five-yearly inspection.

An inspection report by architects from the Whitworth Co-Partnership stated: "The high-quality, late- medieval stone arcading of the nave and the roof, the fittings, the stained glass and memorials all make this a nationally significant building."

It added: "The fine arcading of the nave, unusual window tracery, nave roof, good quality fittings and stained glass make this a building of regional significance."

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The church's rector, Canon John Simpson, said he was pleased with the report and wanted to share the glory of the building with the public.

"It is gratifying to receive such a favourable report on our stewardship, from our professional advisers," he said. "We have given the building the careful attention that it deserves, to maintain its structure and to preserve its presence for future generations."

Canon Simpson added: "Unfortunately, despite this accolade, St Margaret's remains one of the great secrets of the town.

"I really wish that more people would visit the building, to see how magnificent it is. The architect's views on its regional and national significance also reinforce my view that the Highways Authority should be prepared to erect signage for the church. St Margaret's is still pressing for this to be done."

In the five years since the last inspection, repairs have been carried out on the roof and internal plastering, along with work on the rainwater drainage.

Other work carried out during this time include the church's organ blower being renewed and the heating system being maintained, with electrical and lighting tests also being carried out.

The Fabric Committee of St Margaret's met recently to review the report, saying afterwards that it was pleased by the outcome.

Inspectors concluded in the report: "The parochial church council is to be congratulated on keeping such a large and ancient building in such sound order."

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