SWprucing up Stoke Ferry Church

The sharp-eyed among you will have noticed a degree of activity in and around the former church in the centre of Stoke Ferry. Long-overdue restoration to this mediaeval building, the oldest in our community, is at last taking place. Adam Stanley has been fashioning flowerbeds between the buttresses and attending to the pruning of the trees in the churchyard. Malcom Pink, a qualified stonemason with long experience in work on listed buildings, is working on the exterior, starting with the 1848 porch. Dean Willis, a joiner-carpenter, is doing gentle restoration to the roof which is leaking in a number of places. The building now being privately-owned, budgets are constrained, and I am most grateful to these gentlemen for their help, which is being offered at reduced rates. Dean will be camping out in the former vestry while the works are taking place, works which we anticipate will take no longer than twelve months. To those living around the churchyard, we apologise for any disturbance while this continues.
In the meantime, I as the owner am in discussion with the King’s Lynn Council and the Church of England as to the future use of the building. I am apparently unable to obtain a licence of worship for the place, at least according to the rites of the Anglican Creed, since I have now learned that when the church was sold by the Diocese of Ely to me in 1999, it was deconsecrated: a fact of which I was at the time unaware. (Having been offloaded by the Church of England, it is apparently exceedingly difficult to re-activate a licence for a private owner). Although I could easily obtain a licence for worship according to the rites of other faiths, to do so would in my view sit uneasily with the church’s 500-year-old history of Anglican worship: unbroken, since we as a village, under the Rev. Nicholas-Letch in particular, have continued our occasional services therein, albeit in ignorance of the fact that we were apparently ‘transgressing’ by doing so. I shall persist in my endeavours to have this situation reversed, but in the meantime shall continue to maintain the building, largely for the community, as I have done for the past seventeen years. Thank you for your co-operation.
Kit Hesketh-Harvey

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