By STEPHANIE BROOKS
Sunday, February 6, 2011
Hundreds of people are flocking from across the region to a north Suffolk church to enjoy a once in a lifetime opportunity to descend into a medieval underground vault.
Some eager visitors queued for three hours yesterday and today to take a step into the cramped, barrel roofed passage under St Mary’s Church, in Redgrave, near Diss which contains stacks of lead-lined coffins including that of the former Lord Chief Justice Sir John Holt.
Following this weekend’s event, the massive 400kg (approximately 63stone) entrance slab will be lowered once more sealing the historic tomb indefinitely.
The long forgotten chamber was uncovered in July by villager Kathy Mills who stomped her foot through the church floor during an amateur dramatics rehearsal of the musical Quasimodo - earning her the affectionate nickname of Tomb Raider.
Although a high tech ground radar had mapped out where the vault was just weeks before, its entrance had remained a mystery until the actor’s fateful accident.
Archaeologist Owen Thompson, from the Churches Conservation Trust which owns St Mary’s Church, said organisers had been surprised by the volume of people turning-up to learn more about the vault’s history.
“It’s fantastic to see so many people in the church. They are really enthusiastic and fascinated by it. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to see this. I would say it’s unique,” he said,
The vault will remain open until 4pm today.
For further coverage and more photographs, see tomorrow’s EDP.