A HISTORIC church which has been at the heart of a village community for nearly 140 years has been placed up for sale.

Due to dwindling parishioner numbers, West Bergholt Methodist Church, in Chapel Road, has been placed on the market for £420,000.

The iconic premises, which includes the 130 seat church, a detached hall and the surrounding grounds, will be sold to the highest bidder with the congregation having already joined their neighbours at the nearby Mile End Methodist Church.

Andrew Wilks, the former treasurer for West Bergholt Methodist Church, said it was a difficult decision to finally call time on the community facility.

He said: "We are sad and reluctant to see it go but we know the time has come.

"It has been in the pipeline for a couple of years and we have been forced to look for the best way forward.

"The church building is old and it needs a lot of care and attention.

"Sadly we also have an elderly and dwindling congregation.

"We are faced with trying to maintain the building with those circumstances in the background."

Although the premises is up for sale, the community building on site is still in use and can be hired by residents in the interim.

And Mr Wilks said he was confident the congregation would eventually have a new permanent home to call their own.

He said: "We are part of a wider circuit and we are linked with the churches at Boxted and Mile End.

"Mile End are exploring a project which they are hoping to get off the ground where the church could move into part of a new development there.

"We are looking at the three groups coming together.

"It will be sad to say goodbye as from a personal point of view I have been in the village a long time and our children grew up in the church.

"There used to be 40 people here for worship on Sundays and a thriving Sunday school, but the kids eventually grew up and new youngsters never replaced them."

To find out more about the property, contact agent Boydens on 01206 762244.