Brockdish Flower Festival celebrates church’s new hand-carved screen

The completion of a village church redesign which began in the 19th century was celebrated at a flower festival at the weekend.

Brockdish Flower Festival, which featured more than 20 colourful and creative floral displays, celebrated the history of the village's St Peter and St Paul Church and its rectors and the installation of a hand-carved screen.

The oak screen is the final stage in a Gothic-style redesign of the interior started in the 1800s by the then rector and wealthy philanthropist The Rev George France, who also built the rectory and set up the first school in the village.

David Case, treasurer of the parochial church council, said: 'The church at Brockdish, like a lot of churches at that time, was in a bad state of repair and he restored the interior and Victorianised it – he was among those at the forefront of restoring churches in the Gothic style.'

However, the space under the tower was 'a bit scruffy', he added, and the idea to create a practical room and vestry had been kicking around for about 40 years.

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Finally, with the help of fundraising and a bequest left by Mr France 'for the improvement of the church', the �30,000 project was completed and now the church has a meeting room, kitchen and, for the first time, somewhere for the vicar to get changed – all behind a beautiful screen.

The screen, which has been created to fit in with the rest of the carving in the church, was designed by Ruth Blackman, made by John Taylor and the detailed carving was done by Long Stratton master carver Gerald Adams.

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The festival also featured an exhibition of paintings by Maggi Hambling and woodcuts by Michael Carlo, with profits from the sale of the paintings being split between the church and Diss Corn Hall.

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