If you’ve landed here, you’ll learn more about our beautiful Sudbury Angels external public artwork, and a little bit about the hidden angels inside St Peter’s. The wings outside St Peter’s have been created by Sudbury artist and traditional signwriter Wayne Tanswell.
Did you take a photograph posing with the wings? If so we hope that you will share it on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or TikTok using the hashtag #SudburyAngels so we can see just how how angelic you look!
Sudbury has lots of living ‘angels’. Volunteers, young and old, who help hold things together, the many local charities that we all may need to rely on for a bit of support, and those that take care of our most vulnerable. And what about the people who look after our wonderful meadows and walks? The people that help make the town look pretty, and those that act as champions to protect our heritage. Businesses that serve the community and who create opportunities, Councillors giving their time and council staff who help to look after and promote our lovely town. And not forgetting of course, those that teach and support our young people.
Or…maybe it’s your nanna, who is simply always there with a warm hug when you need it the most….
We want to celebrate as many of our #SudburyAngels as possible!
Who is your living ‘angel’? Mum or dad, work colleague, partner or best mate? Why not get them to pose with the wings, and share your picture for all to see?!
St Peter’s Hidden Angels
St Peter’s has very many angels to be found inside, including some in the stained glass, and some decorating the roof, but did you know there are some angels that are completely hidden from view?
In the late 1890s, the architect G.F Bodley decorated the inside of St Peter’s in an ornate style thought to reflect its original, medieval, painted decoration.
His decoration included a pair of beautiful, large angels with two smaller angels holding a shield painted onto the vast arch separating the nave (the main part of the church) from the chancel (where the choir traditionally sat, and leading to the sanctuary).
Picture of Bodley’s Angels in St Peter’s, pre-1964
In the 1960’s however, St Peter’s was again restored, and the earlier ornate decoration, which was by this time considered to be very unfashionable was painted over.
As a consequence, Bodley’s angels were hidden beneath layers of white paint.
Due to the condition of the plaster and the paint layer, uncovering Bodley’s angels would cost a lot of money and would maybe even damage them, so they remain hidden until such time that science finds a way to remove the white paint to reveal the angels again.
Photograph of local building firm Grimwood’s brightening up the walls with white paint.
Some fragments of Bodley’s decoration survived the repainting and can be seen on the chancel arch and nave east wall as well as on the nave and chancel roofs. A number of photographs of the interior of the church prior to the 1960s also survive, but while these give a general impression of the type of design, details are hard to determine.
Picture showing what can still be seen in St Peter’s today. Look up!
Below you can read the poem that has been written into the artwork on our hoardings. It was written in June 2020 about churches everywhere closing during the COVID pandemic; the first time since WWII for most. The poem was written by Peter Ainsworth (b.16 November 1956 – d.6 April 2021) who was the Chair of Trustees for the Churches Conservation Trust, and his words are just as relevant for now, as St Peter’s is closed for major work to repair and regenerate the building into a vibrant arts and heritage venue.