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Medieval marvel at risk from rot and deathwatch beetle

The medieval roof Photo: ITV News Anglia

A rare medieval church roof in Suffolk is at risk of being destroyed by deathwatch beetle and wet rot.

The ceiling's said to be one of the finest examples in Europe and draws visitors from all over the world.

Now the parish council of St John the Baptist's church in Needham Market is desperately trying to raise funds to save the building before it's too late. Tanya Mercer reports.

St John the Baptist's church in Needham Market Credit: ITV News Anglia

This is one of the finest examples of a medieval hammerbeam roof in the country. It was built by craftsmen in the late 15th century. It's stood the test of time, but now more than 500 years on, it's at risk.

A recent inspection found the roof was badly leaking. The hammerbeam structure is being damaged by wet rot. To make things worse deathwatch beetles are eating their way through the rare timbers."

But the cost of repairing the damage is around quarter of a million pounds. The Parish Council is trying to raise money for the project. But they know it'll be a lengthy one - more works needed assess the damage and to source the oak and carry out the vital repairs.

The Sunday before last when it was raining, when water was coming through the roof and actually dripping down to where I was standing, and although the children found it very funny, its actually not funny. If we don't do something it will only get worse to the point where the use of the building is restricted.

– Diane Williams, vicar
£30,000
Amount raise so far for the repairs.