Bungay’s Emmanuel Church window in honour of John Childs to be restored

Work is soon to start on the resoration of the John Childs stained glass window at the Emmanuel Chur

Work is soon to start on the resoration of the John Childs stained glass window at the Emmanuel Church, Bungay. PHOTO: Nick Butcher - Credit: Nick Butcher

Work is to start on the restoration of a stained glass window which commemorates one of the founders of printing in Bungay.

John Childs, who established what is now Clays printing works was a regular at Emmanuel Church in the town.

He has been described as the man who 'put Bungay' on the map after campaigning to parliament for cheaper bibles.

A stained glass window was erected in the church in his memory following his death which now needs vital improvement works.

So far more than half of the £4,000 required has been raised and work is expected to start in April.

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Treasurer Graham Gibbs said: 'John was one of the founders of the printing works in Bungay which is now Clays.

'And he believed very strongly that bibles should be available to all and it got through him, via parliament that he and everyone else could then print bibles a lot cheaper to everybody and that really put Bungay on the map.

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'The glass is still in superb condition but all the surrounding wood and lead needs replacing – a very technical job.

'It will cost just over £4,000 and we have raised half of this already including a donation of £100 from Clays in memory of their founder. We have also received support from the town with donations from the Bungay Society and the Town Trust which is absolutely fabulous.'

John Childs was born in 1783 in Bungay and carried on the family printing business which was founded in 1795.

He was a staunch Congregationalist who suffered imprisonment on account of a conscientious refusal to pay church rates in 1836.

His incarceration was the subject of a debate in the House of Commons and a reference by Sir Robert Peel as 'the Bungay martyr'.

It is unclear how long the work will take to restore the stained glass window which needs to be carefully taken out so the surrounding wood and lead can be replaced.

An application has been put into the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust to help with the funding.

Do you have any Bungay news? Email kieran.lynch@archant.co.uk

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