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In 1881, after decades of mouldering into ruin, the grand fifteenth-century church of Blythburgh, Suffolk, "The Cathedral of the Marshes", was closed as unsafe. The church was saved - but its rescue involved a bitter twenty-five year long dispute between Blythburgh vicars and committees, and William Morris and his Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, who feared that the medieval fabric would be over-restored and the character of the building lost forever.
This volume presents an edition, with notes and introduction, of original documents from both sides - providing unique insights into a rancorous conflict, with vicars pitted against patrons as well as the Society. The need was local, but the significance national, with elites ranged against another. From a description of the Blythburgh committee headed by a royal princess, to accounts of lavish fund-raising fetes and garden parties, the story is vividly brought to life.
Alan Mackley, an honorary research fellow at the University of East Anglia, studied history after a career as a scientist in the oil industry. He has lived in Suffolk for over 35 years.
Table of Contents
List of illustrations viii
Preface and acknowledgements x
Editorial practice lv
1 Correspondence 3
2 Restoration Committee Minute Book 137
3 Churchwardens' Accounts 157
A Architects' and Contractors' Reports and Costs, 1881-1950 165
B Appeals and Donations 211
C Printed Notices, Reports and Articles 235
D Notes on People 273
Index of people and places 295
Index of subjects 310
The Suffolk Records Society 315