Church gives up its secrets

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A CLEAN-UP operation in a much-loved Suffolk church revealed some interesting historical finds on Saturday.

In November, scaffolding went up in the nave at St Andrew’s Church, in Cotton, as structural restoration – expected to cost more than £150,000 – began on the building’s 15th century roof.

The Friends of Cotton Church (FCC), a group that raises funds to restore the church, have used the scaffolding as a rare opportunity to get up into the roof to clean the windows.

Having only been allowed two Saturdays for the clean-up they were delighted, after removing the green film, to find a sonnet etched into the glass.

The extract, which appears to refer to a poem from William Shakespeare’s Sonnets to Sundry Notes of Music, reads: “If kifsing were the only joys in Bed then we wold each other wed.”

FCC member Tony Hutchinson said: “We’re delighted, absolutely delighted.”

Names of people were also found in the glass. One discovery reads ‘J Sheppard, Mendlesham, 1880’, while another made reference to Cecil James Gaffer, in 1931.

Mr Gaffer is buried in the church graveyard and is remembered as a glass cutter by some of the FCC, one of whom lives in his old house.

Andrew Stringer, FCC member and Green Party councillor on Mid-Suffolk District Council and Suffolk County Council, said: “We’ve all recognised this is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get the church clean and it’s grand that the church has repaid us by revealing some of its secrets.”