Building The Church

Originally dedicated to St Denys, the Parish Church of St James has grown and developed over the centuries, becoming the Cathedral of the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich in 1914. Recently the Millennium Project has seen the completion of the building with the addition of a tower, new cloisters and chapels.

History of the Church
1020 - Foundation of the Benedictine Abbey
1065 – 97 – Abbot Baldwin builds St Denys’ Church – Abbot Anselm replaces St Denys’ with a church dedicated to St James
1400s - New chancel built
1503 – 51 - New nave built, designed by John Wastell, Master Mason and resident of Bury St Edmunds
1711 - Medieval chancel replaced
1860 – 70 - New chancel built, work of Sir Gilbert Scott. Pitched roof added to the Nave
1914 - Creation of the Diocese of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich (previously West Suffolk was in the Diocese of Ely and East Suffolk in the Diocese of Norwich) – St James’ Church becomes a Cathedral
1943 - Stephen Dykes Bower appointed as Architect for the Cathedral
1959 – 61 - West Porch and cloisters added
1963 – 70 - New Quire, a Lady Chapel, St Edmund’s Chapel and the crossing added
1988 - Stephen Dykes Bower retires – Alan Rome succeeds as Cathedral Architect
1988 – 90 - Cathedral Centre and Song School built
1994 - Stephen Dykes Bower dies and leaves £2 million to a Trust for the completion of the Cathedral
1997 - Millennium Commission grants £5.15 million for the completion of the Cathedral to the design of Hugh Mathew
1998 – Appeal launched to raise the remaining funds for the Project
1999 - Work starts on the North Transept
2005 - Millennium Tower completed
2008 - East Cloisters opened
2009 - Consecration of the Chapel of the Transfiguration, Crypt and Cloisters
2010 - Completion of vaulted ceiling under the Tower