NOSTALGIA: Ruins of old church at Westley, 1880 - from the Spanton Jarman collection

Ruined church at Westley - from the Spanton Jarman collection ANL-160612-104800001
Ruined church at Westley - from the Spanton Jarman collection ANL-160612-104800001
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The remains of a 12th century church, dedicated to St Thomas a Becket, stands at the end of Old Church Lane, Westley.

The church suffered severe storm damage in 1744, when the steeple fell down, and then again in 1789 which contributed to the steady decline of the building. In 1828 the whole building was recorded in being in a bad state of repair and much neglected. It was finally closed in 1834.

-- This picture is part of a remarkable collection of 4,000 photographs in the care of Bury St Edmunds Past and Present Society which offers a glimpse into the town’s history.

Taken by two families of professional photographers, the Spantons and the Jarmans, the images span a period from the 1860s through to the outbreak of World War Two. The fragile glass plate negatives were donated to the society in 1997 and in recent years many of these have been ‘digitised’ thanks to a Lottery grant and donations - a further £2,000 is needed to complete the task. They can be viewed at www.burypastandpresent.org.uk where you can also find details about membership and the group’s programme of events and lectures. The Spanton-Jarman collection is held at the Bury St Edmunds branch of the Suffolk Record Office. For more details about the Record Office, including its programme of talks and courses, visit www.suffolkarchives.co.uk.