Stanningfield Doom church gets heritage lottery money

Stanningfield Doom, St Nicholas's Church, Stanningfield
Image caption The painting has faded, but Christ can be seen in the middle on a rainbow

A Suffolk church is getting lottery funding to help protect a historic medieval wall painting.

St Nicholas's at Stanningfield, near Bury St Edmunds, will receive £40,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to carry out repairs to its leaking roof.

The painting, known as the Stanningfield Doom, shows Jesus and the Last Judgement.

Gerald Biggs, church warden, said: "It's part of our heritage and it needs as much protection as it can get."

The church dates from Norman times, but the origin of the Doom is unclear.

It is thought to have been painted by a monk from the abbey at Bury St Edmunds in the 15th Century.

It shows Christ sitting on a rainbow with other figures coming out of their graves and ascending to heaven with hell below.

Mr Biggs said it was a "great relief and joy" to get the lottery money.

Image caption St Nicholas's Church attracts visitors coming to see the Stanningfield Doom

"Most of the damage is on the outer roof, but if you go up to the ceiling you will see staining on the wood and we do get rain coming in to the chancel," he said.

"The painting is on the nave side of the chancel arch and it's feared that rain water could seep through the brickwork and damage it further.

"It brings a lot of people into the church and we get a steady flow in the summer months."

The church still has to raise £20,000 to complete the fundraising, but it is hoped work can begin in 2013.

Mr Biggs said: "In the church people say God will provide, so we're hoping God does his bit and then people on Earth do theirs."

St Edmund's in Hargrave is getting £82,000 for roof repair work from the Heritage Lottery Fund, while St Peter's in Palgrave is getting £52,000.

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