Monk sculpture unveiled in Abbey of St Edmund crypt but only for this weekend
- Credit: CHARLOTTE BOND
A giant monk sculpture made from 2mm thick steel has been unveiled in the Abbey Gardens in Bury St Edmunds today to promote the Abbey 1000 celebrations for 2022.
Weighing some 250Kg and standing at 7ft 6ins, the monk has been installed in the crypt in the abbey ruins, where St Edmund’s Shrine would have stood.
Although this weekend, which St Edmund's Day falls in, will be the public’s only chance to take a photograph with the monk this year for entry into an online competition.
It will not be displayed again until next May, when it will be the first installation at the Abbey 1000 Sculpture Exhibition.
Running from May 1 to November 30, 2022, the exhibition will feature a different sculpture each month displayed in the crypt.
Libby Ranzetta, chair of the Abbey 1000 Group, which is coordinating the programme of events, said: “A thousand years is such a long time that it's hard to imagine how much the town has changed since 1020, but the wonderful events planned for next year will bring to life the history and human stories connected with the once all-powerful Abbey.
"The programme is still growing and we would welcome ideas from groups and organisations who want to get involved in some way. It will be some while before we get this opportunity again after all!”
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The steel monk was designed by Nigel Kaines and created by Kevin Baldwin of Designs on Metal.
Nigel said: "It doesn't have a face. I didn't want to give him an identity.
"It's a little bit ghostly."
The figure is meant to reference back to a time when the abbey would have been full of monks.
The lantern the monk carries has a solar panel on and lights up, so it will be able to been seen as it gets darker.
Nigel described the monk as "lighting his path and anyone else that will be walking with him."
Funding for the millennium celebrations of the foundation of the abbey came from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, who approved a heritage grant of £99,200.
The Heritage Grant will support nine of the planned events, to find out more about the Abbey 1000 celebrations, visit: www.visit-burystedmunds.co.uk/abbey-1000.