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Tributes to award-winning architect Anthony Rossi

Anthony Rossi CBE, who designed the award-winning Church of the Annunciation in Little Walsingham, has died at the age of 88.

Anthony, who had previously lived in Little Walsingham, died on October 9 at his Norwich home. His new building in Friday Market Place, Little Walsingham, was commissioned by the Diocese of East Anglia and replaced a temporary church which had been there since the 1950s. It won the Graham Allen Conservation Award from North Norfolk District Council.

“The thing the judging panel liked the most was the fact the building mixed local distinctiveness with innovation,” said Chris Young, senior conservation and design officer with the council.

“It was about re-interpreting tradition in a contemporary way – and it was about the quality of the materials and attention to detail in the build,” he added.

The church is carbon-neutral, using solar panels for electricity and the earth’s heat for heating. It has a modern Round Tower, and a light and airy interior, with a spectacular east window designed by Anthony and a crucifix by Mark Corith.

A devout member of the Church, Anthony also undertook work for the Diocese and for the National Shrine at Walsingham. In 1998 he was awarded a Papal Knighthood for his outstanding contribution to the Church, and in 2008 the CBE for Heritage and Conservation.

Anthony was architect to the Cathedral of St John the Baptist in Norwich for 11 years and had been a server at the Cathedral to Canon McBride, at the time when the latter was Vicar General of the Diocese.

Fr Denys Lloyd from Sheringham recalls: “When Canon McBride died, Anthony and Claire, as it were, adopted me – as a very inadequate replacement. I was then Parish Priest at St Joseph’s, Sheringham – Canon McBride’s last Parish. I used therefore to join Anthony and Claire for wedding anniversaries and birthdays, which we usually celebrated at the Blakeney Hotel; and with the meal, always a bottle of Canon McBride’s favourite wine – Montepulciano – to raise a glass in his honour.”

Pictured above is Anthony Rossi (photo from the Rossi family) and below, the Church of the Annunciation (image by Simon Knott)