Four-time Grammy award-winning singer Ed Sheeran is seeking to build a place of multifaith worship on his estate in Framlingham, England, according to plans released by an architectural firm.
The space would to be a retreat for "contemplation and prayer" within the grounds of his $4.5 million estate. The two-story building would feature stained glass windows and a tower, according to The Sun. The plans have been submitted to the local council for approval.
"It would address an important need for a private place of retreat,” a design and access statement prepared by Donald Insall Associates, said. Along with a refuge for prayer, the “Thinking Out Loud” singer wants the sanctuary to be used for “celebration of key life and family milestones, family and social gatherings, marriages, christenings and so forth."
Sheeran, who is now a married man, said he frequently hosts "guests and visiting colleagues from around the world, many of whom practice other faiths.
"Thus, the applicant seeks to provide a space in which, he, his family and these different people can retreat for contemplation, prayer and relaxation, to meet celebrate and meditate in peace and safety from disturbance," the architectural firm added.
Sheeran initially had plans to build a chapel within his property boundaries in Suffolk but it was rejected and the building is now described in the application as "sculptural and unusual, special" and "boat-shaped."
According to U.K. news outlets, documents submitted to the local council explain that the building would be facing East so worshipers can see the sun rise, which is “relevant both in the Abrahamic and oriental traditions."
The application notes that Sheeran’s boat-shaped building would not take attention away from the nearby Church of St. Mary. The "novel and modern" design would have a “leaf-shaped roof and a cone."
"Its design is reflective of shapes and forms that are familiar to all, allowing each person to interpret its symbolism freely in their own way, which reflects the principle of it being multi-use and nondenominational,” the firm adds.
Sheeran first bought his listed “Grade II farmhouse” seven years ago, and since then the 28-year-old singer has made a number renovations and built several new structures, including a four-room tree house, an indoor pool, a wildlife pond, and a pub. According to Historic England, "a building is listed [Grade I and Grade II] when it is of special architectural or historic interest considered to be of national importance and therefore worth protecting."
The planning application for the prayer retreat was submitted to East Suffolk Council last weekend and is awaiting approval.
It's unclear what the singer's religious beliefs are. Last year, he spoke out against a religious pro-life campaign that used his song "Small Bump" to support Ireland's Eighth Amendment that protects the unborn, saying that their cause "does not reflect what the song is about."