1,000 churches on Historic England's Heritage at Risk Register

Published: Friday, October 21, 2016


Nearly 1,000 listed places of worship, buildings of the highest heritage value, have been included on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register for 2016.

Published on 21 October 2016, the Heritage at Risk Register brings attention to the sites across England that are at risk of being lost as a result of neglect, decay or inappropriate development.

926 places of worship are listed on the Register, representing 6.3% of the listed places of worship across the country. London, at 9.8%, and the North West, at 9.6%, are the areas with the highest percentage of listed places of worship on the Register.

Compared to 2015, the total number of all sites on the Heritage at Risk Register has fallen slightly. However, the total number of places of worship remains the same. 129 places of worship were added to the Register, the same number as were removed since 2015. Churches added include Newington Green Unitarian Church, Holy Trinity Hull, and St Mary, Woolnoth. 

Across England, many churches have completed projects that have safeguarded their buildings for the future. In the West Midlands alone, 22 places of worship were removed from the Register following restoration work. These include St Joseph’s, Burslem, which has been removed from the Register following a project partially funded by a £40,000 Cornerstone Grant from the National Churches Trust, awarded in December 2015.

Claire Walker, Chief Executive of the National Churches Trust, said:

“Thanks to the work of parishes, national funding bodies, and charities including the National Churches Trust, there has been a great deal of investment in the repair and conservation of many of England's historic churches, including many that have been on Historic England's Heritage at Risk Register."


"I am delighted that St Joseph’s, Burslem, which we awarded a £40,000 Cornerstone Grant in 2015, has been removed from the latest Historic England Heritage at Risk Register.


"The National Churches Trust works hard to help churches at risk and our most recent grants, awarded in June 2016, included 13 churches that are on Historic England's Heritage at Risk Register. I hope that our investment will help lead to them being removed from the Register in the next few years.


"You can help us to save more of our valuable churches here.”

Good news for St Joseph, Burslem

A National Churches Trust Cornerstone Grant of £40,000 in December 2015 funded a project which has led to the removal of St Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Burslem, Stoke on Trent, from the Heritage At Risk Register. St Joseph’s was added to the Register due to the failing eaves, guttering, and nave roof. Following the Cornerstone Grant, the entire building is now watertight and work has begun to conserve the magnificent interior.

The spectacular mural of Christ in Glory on the sanctuary ceiling by acclaimed artist Moira Forsyth is the focal point of the church. Her father George Forsyth led free classes to teach 50 parishioners to make the 32 stained glass windows, inspired by the colours at Chartres Cathedral.

Added to the Heritage at Risk Register

Newington Green Unitarian Church

Newington Green Unitarian Church in Islington, London, has had connections to political radicalism for over 300 years. The most famous member of its congregation was Mary Wollstonecraft who, inspired by the church’s radical intellectual group, wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), becoming known as “the Mother of Feminism”. Duncan Wilson, Chief Executive of Historic England, said that it represents a place known for ‘dissent and radical thinking but its poor condition puts the building at risk’.

Holy Trinity, Hull

Hull’s Grade I listed Holy Trinity Church is one of the largest medieval parish churches in England and is a building of cathedral-like scale which dominates Hull Old Town.  Construction started in 1300 and took 230 years. The interior is rich in monuments and works of art, including two colourful windows by Walter Crane. The asphalt on the nave roof is split and leaking. There is also some deterioration of the clerestory windows. Heritage Lottery funding has been secured and it is hoped that the roof will be re-covered during 2017; a fitting tribute to the celebrations of Hull as City of Culture.

St Mary Woolnoth

The Church of St Mary Woolnoth, City of London is one of Nicholas Hawksmoor’s six London churches constructed between 1716 and 1727 during the long rebuilding of London after the Great Fire. This was the church where anti-slavery campaigner William Wilberforce worshipped and it was immortalised in T.S. Eliot’s poem “The Wasteland”. Settlement in the tower is causing cracks and parts of the roof need repairing to keep it watertight.


  • Newington Green Unitarian Church

  • Holy Trinity, Hull

  • St Mary Woolnoth