More churches helped by the National Churches Trust

Published: Tuesday, March 28, 2017

 

41 churches and chapels in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are set to benefit from a £247,205 grants package.

Nine of the churches being helped are on the Historic England 'At Risk Register'.

Broadcaster and Journalist Huw Edwards, Vice-President of the National Churches Trust said:

I'm delighted that the future of 41 churches and chapels is being secured with the help of National Churches Trust grants to help fund urgent repairs, install much needed community facilities and to carry out essential maintenance.”

“According to a recent ComRes opinion poll, published in January 2017, more than four in five Britons (83%) agree that the UK’s churches, chapels and meeting houses are an important part of the UK’s heritage and history.”

“Churches and chapels are at heart of our cities, towns and villages.  In good repair they can continue to play a vital role in the life and well-being of people for many, many years to come.”

The latest round of grants from the National Churches Trust consists of 19 Maintenance Grants, 15 Repair Grants, six Community Grants and one Project Development Grant.

Churches being helped include:

  • St Mary’s church, in Handsworth, Birmingham, known as the ‘Cathedral of the Industrial Revolution'  which is associated with several of the men who made the Midlands an industrial powerhouse in the 19th century including James Watt the steam engine pioneer who is buried in the church. The church receives a £10,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant to help fund urgent tower repairs.
  • St Peter upon Cornhill, Grade I listed,  one of Sir Christopher Wren’s City of London churches, rebuilt after the Great Fire of London between 1677 and 1684. It is one of the few City churches to have escaped bomb damage during the Blitz. The church receives a £3,000 National Churches Trust Project Development Grant to plan a project to reveal its fascinating heritage to the public.
  • Shrewsbury Abbey, a medieval (11th century) Grade I listed scheduled monument which is now a parish church serving an area including the second most deprived community in Shropshire. Visitors are presently faced with some areas of the outside cordoned off as parts of the Abbey are a potential health and safety hazard. Shrewsbury Abbey receives  a £10,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant to help fund urgent stonework repairs which will help remove the church from the Historic England 'Heritage at Risk' register.
  • St Thomas the Martyr,  a well known landmark in Newcastle upon Tyne, thanks to its distinctive hollow tower. It is sometimes known as ‘the black church’ because of the discolouration of its stone. When the clock broke a few years ago, local people blamed the church for being late to work as they depended on it! The church is to receive a  £20,000 National Churches Trust Community Grant to help fund the installation of toilets in order to increase community use of the building. Together with separately funded repairs, the project will help remove this Grade II* listed church from the Historic England ‘Heritage at Risk’ register.

DETAILS OF REPAIR, COMMUNITY AND PROJECT DEVELOPMENT GRANTS

BIRMINGHAM

St Mary, Handsworth

Diocese of Birmingham – Anglican  – Grade II*

St Mary’s church, in Handsworth, receives a £10,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant to help fund urgent tower repairs.

The project will ensure that this historic Grade II* listed church, known as the ‘Cathedral of the Industrial Revolution’, is secured for the future and its heritage remains central to the local community. 

The tower of the Grade II* listed church of St Mary, also known as Handsworth Old Church, dates from 1170. Many parts of the building date from the 12th and 15th centuries. There were two major rebuilds in the 19th century.

St Mary’s church in Handsworth is associated with several of the men who made the Midlands an industrial powerhouse in the 19th century. James Watt, steam engine pioneer, is buried in the church, with a memorial chapel erected over his tomb. There is a bust to his partner in industrial ingenuity, pioneer Matthew Boulton, in the sanctuary, and one of William Murdoch, who worked on gas lighting and the high-pressure steam engine. 

There has been considerable erosion to the tower due to previous repairs being made by cement based render. Rain can penetrate this render, and these areas are falling off. The project will remove this render and any loose material and repoint the tower. Damaged slates will be replaced, as well as repairs to the window frames and interior timbers. The church will be watertight and safe.

When the tower repairs are completed, the church will begin a major reordering project in the nave to introduce a community café. With the fabric of the building secure, the church can welcome all sections of the community. It is looking to develop links with Aston Villa Football Club, the CBSO, and Handsworth Park, among others.

CHESHIRE 

CONGLETON

St Peter

Diocese of Chester – Anglican - Grade I - On the Historic England ‘Heritage at Risk’ Register.

St Peter’s church, in Congleton, receives a £10,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant to help fund urgent repairs to the ceiling of this Grade I listed Georgian building.

The project will ensure that this stunning Georgian building can continue its contribution to the community, and will be a step closer to being removed from Historic England’s ‘Heritage at Risk’ Register.

St Peter’s church, in Congleton, is a Grade I listed building with a stunning interior of national importance. The Georgian interior is almost completely intact, with original 18th century fittings and furnishings. The church was rebuilt in the 1740s in Neoclassical style by William Baker of Audlem, with the stone tower completed in 1786 and the gallery extended in 1840.

The project will be to repair or replace the original 1742 Georgian ceiling above the nave. There is evidence of deterioration of the timbers in the ceiling, and risk of plaster separating from its backing. This could mean parts of the ceiling collapse and would mean the church would have to close. The work will prevent further deterioration and replace the potentially unstable parts of the ceiling.

St Peter’s is actively involved in its local community. As well as weddings, funerals, and baptisms, the local community are welcomed into the church for Heritage Open Days. St Peter’s took part in the Challenge 500 bell ringing event in 2016. The church also has a central civic role in the town. There are concerts, and the church features in Congleton’s arts festival. Throughout spring and summer, the church is regularly open to welcome visitors.

OVER, WINSFORD,

United Reformed Church - Grade II - On the Historic England ‘Heritage at Risk’ Register

Over United Reformed Church receives a £5,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant to help fund repairs to external decorative pinnacles, ridge tiles and parapets which are a distinctive element of the exiting Grade II listed building. The project also aims to restore and repair defective rainwater goods by reintroducing cast iron fittings to the original pattern.

This will make the roof safer and will help remove this Grade II listed church from the Historic England Heritage at Risk register.

The present Church has its origins in Providence Chapel which was built on the same site in 1814. This was subsequently replaced by the present building which was designed by the renowned local architect John Douglas and was opened in 1867. From that date until 1972 it was known as Over Congregational Church (or locally as Over Congs) and was part of the Cheshire Congregational Union. From that year it became part of the Mersey Province (now Synod) of the United Reformed Church. It is a Grade II listed building and the church takes its heritage very seriously.

Two further phases of building towards the end of the 20th century at the rear of the church provide meeting rooms and hall which are heavily used by the local community.

The church building is widely used for worship and by community use, including Cubs, Beavers, Ladies' Circle, Rainbows and Brownies.

DORSET

BOURNEMOUTH

Cornerstone Church (Baptist) 

Baptist -  Unlisted

Bournemouth’s Cornerstone Church  receives a £10,000 National Churches Trust Community Grant to help fund the building of an extension to include new toilets and catering facilities in order to increase community use of the building.

The church, which last year celebrated its 60th Anniversary, opened in October 1956. It was built on a new estate on land allocated by the local council for church purposes, partly funded from war damage reparations from a church in Portsmouth. The new extension has been designed by Studio 4 Architects of Southampton and is being constructed by RV Dart & Son (Builders) Ltd of Romsey.

The project will improve the building by providing:

  • A new entrance foyer to make the building more accessible and more visually attractive.
  • Much needed new toilet facilities for the many users of the building. 
  • A desperately needed toilet specifically for disabled people which will improve accessibility and help the church comply with disability legislation.
  • Space for people from the church and community to meet one another in a relaxed environment
  • Improved refreshment facilities
  • Two new rooms for one to one counselling to provide better facilities, and help the church cope with increasing demand.
  • The ability to have more than one group using the premises at a time, which should allow more use by community groups.

DURHAM

AUCKLAND

St Helen 

Diocese of Durham - Anglican - Grade I

Web address: 

St Helen’s church, Auckland, a Grade I listed building, receives a £10,000 National Churches Trust Community Grant to help fund the building of an extension to the church to provide a community space, meeting room, toilet and refreshment facilities.

The new community space will help the church increase its work with local people including the elderly, vulnerable and young people who are at risk of becoming socially isolated.

St Helen’s church can trace its origins back to 1120. It is possible that it was built on the site of an earlier church or preaching cross. The church was extended in 1170 and again in 1220. The entrance to the church is by the original door, one of the oldest in the country. Among the treasures of the church are a font which is probably 13th century in origin, a grave cover of Frosterley marble thought to date from around 1250, an Elizabethan altar table and one of only six civilian brasses in the county thought to date to about 1470.

The new community space is designed to bring a 900 year old building into everyday community use. It will be used as a Drop In Centre for tea and coffee, light breakfasts and lunches and has the potential to be used as an Advice Centre and for other community activities.

The new space will enable the church to increase its work with the local community and to engage the elderly, vulnerable and young people who are at risk of becoming socially isolated.

GLOUCESTERSHIRE

LYDNEY

St Mary

Diocese of Gloucester- Anglican  - Grade I

St Mary’s church, Lydney, is set to benefit from a £10,000 National Churches Trust Community Grant to help fund much needed work to benefit community use of the church.

There will be disabled and additional toilets, a new servery area, new sound and lighting systems, and flexible seating in one aisle for greater mingling at the many events, services and community gatherings held at the church.

St Mary’s is the parish church with a huge spire seen from anywhere in Lydney, and exists to serve every section of the community.

The work has been progressed under the mission statement: ‘We’re Building a Community where Everyone Matters!’, and will provide practical facilities to enable people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities to continue to enjoy and benefit from the special work and space of St Mary’s for generations to come.

A church in Lydney is mentioned in 852. The present church of St Mary’s was founded in the 12th century and is a Grade I Listed Building, built to serve a wide area on the south side of the Forest of Dean. The earliest parts of the existing building are 13th century, when the lower stages of the tower, aisled nave and chancel were constructed. The tower and the stone spire were added in the early 14th Century, followed by a north chantry chapel.

Sir William Winter had the north chapel rebuilt in the 16th century as his private family chapel, later used by the Bathurst Family.

The church was damaged by fire in the civil war with the current wagon roofs to the nave and aisles being constructed after that date.

In 1896, a portion of the spire was blown down, and was rebuilt, at a cost of about £1,000.

Most of the windows are memorials, including one to the men connected with the parish who fell in the Great War, 1914-1918, and one, erected by his parents, to Harry Richards, who was amongst those who fell.

St Mary’s has extremely limited facilities having a small, inadequate kitchen and only one toilet unsuitable for those with limited mobility. Access is restricted due to damaged floor surfaces, raised platforms remaining from previous pew removal, and lack of space to manoeuvre around columns for those in wheelchairs, with mobility aids, or pushing small children.

The works, which will be dementia-aware from design to completion, include:

  • The conversion of existing kitchen and toilet to provide male, female and disabled accessible toilets plus nappy changing facilities.
  • Removal of pews to provide flexible open space in the south aisle.
  • A servery with simple kitchen area at the west end of the south aisle.
  • Replacement of the entire sound system and lighting system throughout the church.
  • Much needed decoration and conservation work to floors and walls.

HEREFORDSHIRE 

WESTON-UNDER-PENYARD,

St Lawrence

Diocese of Hereford - Anglican - Grade II*

St Lawrence church, Weston-Under-Penyard is set to benefit from a £10,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant to help fund urgent roof repairs.

St Lawrence, Weston-under-Penyard is a busy parish, especially in its links with the church school, who worship regularly in the church both on special Sundays and in the week. The church also has a good choir and organ and a regular band of bellringers.

The repair work will ensure a water and weathertight building and ensure its future both as a place of worship and community resource.

St Lawrence church is a major landmark and a building of historic significance. The building is Norman in origin, possibly built on a much earlier Saxon place of worship (there are carved Saxon heads in the porch). Carved animal heads in the church - a most unusual feature - reflect very early use of Penyard Park and Chase for hunting.

Weston is situated in a popular area for tourists, cyclists and walkers and many visit the church. A range of concerts and other events are held in the church, which also attract people who would not otherwise visit.

LANCASHIRE

BLACKPOOL

Marton United Reformed Church - Unlisted

Marton United Reformed Church, Blackpool, is to receive a £5,000 National Churches Trust Community Grant to help fund the building of an extension at the front of the church to include new meeting room, kitchen and toilets designed to increase community use of the building.

The church was built in 1969 to a modern but simple design.

As well as for worship, the building is used weekly for music lessons and organ recitals and also for meetings, concerts and occasional scouting activities.

At present there are no proper catering facilities and lack of toilets.

The project will see the extension and development of the front of the church to  create more space as well as resolving some structural problems. A new meeting room and kitchen with their own entrance will be created. Additional toilets including disabled and baby changing facilities as well as safe disabled access will improve the experience, comfort and safety of those visiting the building.

The building will be available to all. Plans include providing early morning tea/coffee/chat for parents dropping off children at primary school opposite, a parent and toddler group, lunch clubs, coffee mornings for older people, book and jigsaw lending. Other groups will be able to use the premises, for example Police Cadets, Craft groups, IT tablet training, and CAB outreach.

LINCOLNSHIRE

ULCEBY

St Nicholas Church

Diocese of Lincoln - Anglican  Grade I - On the Historic England 'At Risk Register'

St Nicholas Church, Ulceby, is to receive a £8,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant to help fund urgent roof repairs which will help remove this Grade I listed church from the Historic England ‘Heritage at Risk’ register.

On completion of the repairs and conservation works the building will bewatertight and this will help significantly reduce the internal moisture levels, enabling the building to be used all year round and ensuring it is more comfortable for users.

Additional benefits will be that the important interior fittings within the church, including church furniture, will no longer be at risk of damage due to water ingress

The church mainly dates from the 13th, 14th and 15th centuries.  Unusually for this area the tower is topped by a needle spire. 

The stained glass window above the children’s altar is believed to have been designed by Edward Burne-Jones who was the glass designer for William Morris.

The church is used as a venue for a variety of community events throughout the year including a historic photography display, cream teas, open days and table top sales. The church is also used weekly for bell ringing. The local WI use the church occasionally and there are also heritage tours and bell ringer taster sessions throughout the summer months. The local school also uses the church for services and celebration events throughout the year.

The repairs will provide an opportunity to develop a heritage and learning project exploring the link between nearby Thornton Abbey, the village and the church. This multifaceted project will appeal to the local and wider community. It will include a touchscreen console within the church for research and exploration, and a permanent display of the heritage and any links found with Thornton Abbey.

LIVERPOOL AND MERSEYSIDE

GRASSENDALE

St Mary

Diocese of Liverpool - Anglican - Grade II,

St Mary’s church, Grassendale, is set to benefit from a £5,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant to help fund urgent roof repairs and to tackle dry rot problems.

The building is rapidly deteriorating and eradication of dry rot will mean it is secure for the future.

St. Mary's church was consecrated in 1854, having been designed by A.H. Holme, a prolific architect of mid-Victorian Liverpool, for the residents of Grassendale and Cressington Parks. The church is of local sandstone and the broached NW steeple is an important landmark on the main road from Liverpool to Widnes.

The interior features one of the earliest known uses of laminated timber beams to form the crossing between transepts and this in turn allows a wide, aisleless nave with good visibility from all points.

]The absence of galleries was cited by "The Ecclesiologist" as evidence of progress in the design of Liverpool churches which had hitherto been perceived as rather backward.

The church has an interesting collection of stained glass windows, including three east windows by Evans (1884) and west window by J.E. Nuttgens (1953).

The church is a significant and well-loved building at the heart of the community. St. Mary’s is in an economically deprived area. According to the Church Urban Fund the parish ranks 3109 out of 12599 and has 15% child poverty, 20% pensioner poverty and 14% of adults receive key out of work benefits.

In December 2014 the church discovered a serious outbreak of dry rot within the unusual buried timber stud, lath and plaster internal wall construction and roof structure as well as leaking wall head gutter.

After repairs have been completed the church will provide more opportunities for all ages to meet in a community setting, including midweek tots groups and for older people in care settings. The history of the building and local people will be shared through written materials, guided tours, theatrical productions and an up-to-date guide book.

SOUTHPORT

St Luke

Diocese of Liverpool - Anglican - Grade II - On the Historic England 'At Risk Register'

St Luke’s church, Southport, is set to benefit from a £10,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant to help fund urgent roof repairs which will help remove this Grade II* listed church from the Historic England ‘Heritage at Risk’register.

Consecrated in 1882 and enlarged and embellished in 1897, St Luke’s has been a friendly, open and welcoming parish in Southport and the Diocese of Liverpool for over one hundred years.

Water penetration in the kitchen, toilets and south aisle are causing dampness and deterioration to internal surfaces. If left much longer timber decay in the roofs will become a real risk.

St Luke’s is a very tall red brick building with a magnificent interior described as a ‘Victorian extravaganza’   It includes a painting of the Crucifixion by Kehren of Düsseldorf, a  sumptuously decorated high altar and an ornate pulpit and golden angels at the entrance to the chancel.

The last few years have seen steady growth in the use of St Luke’s church, both for worship and also by wider community groups including Transformation Fitness, a Buddhist Meditation Group, Tiny Tots Playgroup and a Community Payback Scheme.

Once the repairs are complete, the church is seeking to achieve a 5% year on year growth in use. Coffee and bingo mornings are attended by mainly elderly people and other activities are planned for this group such as indoor bowling.

LONDON

St Peter upon Cornhill

Diocese of London – Anglican – Grade I

£3,000 Project Development Grant

St Peter upon Cornhill church in the City of London has received a £3,000 grant from the National Churches Trust to plan a project to reveal its fascinating heritage to the public.

The historic church, built by Sir Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of London, aims to increase public access and reveal Wren to a wider audience. 

Project Development Grants allow churches to plan high quality repair and community projects. This includes preparing applications to major grant funders such as the Heritage Lottery Fund.

St Peter upon Cornhill is one of Sir Christopher Wren’s City churches, rebuilt after the Great Fire of London between 1677 and 1684. It is one of the few City churches to have escaped bomb damage during the Blitz. Like many City churches, it occupies a tight site, hidden behind buildings on Cornhill.

The church has a barrel vaulted nave and five narrow aisles. It contains several original door cases, a large pulpit with a richly carved tester, and an impressive wooden chancel thought to have been designed by Wren and his daughter.

The Project Development Grant will help fund planning into how greater public access can be achieved. The church wants to celebrate Wren and reveal St Peter upon Cornhill to a wider audience, as well as interpret the significance of the building. The study will also provide plans for fabric repairs. When a proposal is ready, the church will be able to approach large funders with confidence, and begin a major project that will ensure their future is sustainable.

Currently, the church is used as a training centre for young people exploring ministry, and for Bible study groups for students, wedding receptions, prayer meetings, Sunday school, and a Mandarin language service.  

 

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE

St Thomas the Martyr

Diocese of Newcastle - Anglican - Grade II* - On the Historic England ‘Heritage at Risk’ Register

St Thomas the Martyr, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, is to receive a  £20,000 National Churches Trust Community Grant to help fund the installation of toilets in order to increase community use of the building. Together with separately funded repairs, the project will help remove this Grade II* listed church from the Historic England ‘Heritage at Risk’ register.

Everybody in Newcastle recognises the distinctive hollow tower of St Thomas’ on the skyline. It’s sometimes known as ‘the black church’ because of the discolouration caused by mining. When the clock broke a few years ago, local people blamed the church for being late to work as they depended on it!

St Thomas the Martyr was built to designs by John Dobson between 1827 and 1830 in Newcastle upon Tyne's Haymarket. It was the first church by that architect.

Outwardly the church looks much today as it did when newly-built, apart from discoloration of the stones.

Latter years have seen the removal of some pews and the font, the installation of glass entrance doors – interventions aimed at maximising the usable internal space and adapting to changing community needs. Most recently St Thomas' has installed a biomass boiler and converted the North Vestry into a meeting room with kitchenette.

With the addition of a ‘One World’ shop, the church can be kept open all day, 6 days a week, and sees hundreds of visitors.

The church is centrally located with excellent transport links. But without accessible toilets the building does not comply with legal requirements so groups cannot use it.

Several organisations have indicated that they will use the church once it has an accessible toilet. These include International Newcastle, the Sage and local universities. Having more events will enable the building to be open more hours, and appreciated even more by the local community.

OXFORDSHIRE

TOWERSEY

St Catherine’s church

Diocese of Oxford – Anglican – Grade II

St Catherine’s church, a Grade II listed building, is set to benefit from a £10,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant to help deal with crumbling stonework, repair the tower, and make the roof watertight.

The repair work will mean that St Catherine’s church will be a much more comfortable and welcoming building and is structurally secure, weathertight and secured against pests.

The improved conditions will mean that the church can then begin their project to install an accessible toilet with baby changing facilities and a servery.

St Catherine’s was originally a Saxon chapel. The chancel was built in the 12th century, and is constructed of one building inside another, joined only at the windows. The building is Gothic style honey-coloured limestone, with a handmade tiled roof and three stage embattled tower. The original 14th century oak doors with forged strap hinges and ancient locks are still in place. The sanctuary lancet windows are rare examples that date back to 1220. In 2000, the village of Towersey donated a new stained glass window to celebrate the millennium.

The repair project will replace stones in the nave, chancel, tower, and buttresses, which are crumbling and falling. The west window and stones around it will be repaired. The tower roof will be made watertight. A hard render material on the inside of the walls will also be removed, which will allow the building to breathe and reduce damp. 

The fabric repairs will ensure that the building is preserved for the future, safeguarding the heritage of the church, is easier to maintain, and provides a suitable location for various community groups to meet. With future plans to install a toilet and servery, this much-loved church will remain central to the village of Towersey.

SHROPSHIRE

SHREWSBURY

Shrewsbury Abbey

Diocese of Lichfield - Anglican - Grade I - On the Historic England ‘Heritage at Risk’ Register

Shrewsbury Abbey is set to benefit from a £10,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant to help fund urgent stonework repairs and to upgrade kitchen facilities.

Shrewsbury Abbey is a medieval (11th century) Grade I listed scheduled monument which is now a parish church serving an area including the second most deprived community in Shropshire.

Visitors are presently faced with some areas of the outside cordoned off as parts of the Abbey are a potential health and safety hazard. The work will help remove this Grade I listed church from the Historic England Heritage at Risk register.

Shrewsbury Abbey is of red sandstone construction and there are assorted defects associated with the variable quality of some of the building stones used. Parts of the chancel and transept parapets are in urgent need of repair and renewal. It also has a very poor sink area in full view which is a serious detriment to the internal beauty of the Abbey and the project includes the installation of a proper and 'hidden' small kitchen.

The Abbey attracts 30,000 visitors per year and holds concerts and exhibitions including weekly 'free' concerts from May to September. The repair work will benefit all visitors and especially pilgrimage walkers and young people in local schools.

The Abbey already acts as a magnet to the town – it has been estimated that visitors bring in £3 million to the local economy and once the work has been completed it  hopes to increase the use by 20% in five years.

SUSSEX

DONNINGTON

St George

Diocese of Chichester - Anglican - Grade I

St George’s church, a Grade I listed building, is to receive a £10,000 National Churches Trust Community Grant to help fund a small extension to introduce much-needed WCs and storage space together with improved level access for people with disabilities, allowing the church to expand its community activities.

The new facilities will enable the building to be used more and for longer periods than it can at present and make it suitable for use by the wider community. They will also give greater comfort to visitors who may have come direct to the church after a long journey for funerals and weddings.

St George’s church, in a rural location in the old village of Donnington, was rebuilt c.1246 on the site of an earlier Saxon church. A tower was added in the 16th century. The North/Trinity chapel, remodelled in 1871 in memory of General Crosbie, contains the sarcophagus of John Page, MP for Chichester (c.1779). The tower has two 16th century bells on the national register of bells for preservation and one recast in 1858.

The project will provide toilets on the site for the first time. Many older members of the congregation cannot attend the church in case they need the toilet. Storage facilities will create more useable space and enhance the appearance of the building and a level entrance will provide safe access for the disabled without the need to put out portable ramps.

PEVENSEY

St Nicolas

Diocese of Chichester - Anglican - Grade I- On the Historic England ‘Heritage at Risk’ Register

St Nicolas church, Pevensey, is to receive a £10,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant to help fund urgent roof and window repairs which will help remove the Grade I listed church from the Historic England ‘Heritage at Risk’ register.

The project will also launch an exciting programme of heritage engagement activities focussed on Pevensey’s role as a medieval seaport.

St Nicolas’ Church was completed in 1216 on the site of a 5th century Saxon Priory, and is situated in a conservation area adjacent to Pevensey Castle. The church’s size and relative grandeur reflects Pevensey's then importance as a seaport, and it retains many original features. The chancel was built c.1205 and the nave c.1210: its high cradle roof, which consists of hand sawn and jointed Sussex oak, was probably made by local shipbuilders and remains practically unchanged.

The porch shelters the main door, which is studded with brass furniture. Three Votive or Crusader Crosses are etched into the porch, probably in the 13th century when pilgrims, crusaders and traders travelled from Pevensey for Europe, the Holy Land and beyond, and would have left these in the hope of ensuring their return.

In December 1875, architect George Gilbert Scott Jr described St Nicolas as “a remarkably complete and uniform specimen of English architecture at the commencement of the 13th century.”

The repair project will enable much needed improvements to the church's roofs and windows; these will make the building wind and water-tight for the benefit of worshippers, concert-goers and other visitors.

WORCESTERSHIRE

WORCESTER

St Helen

Diocese of Worcester - Anglican -  Grade II*,

St Helen’s Church, Worcester, which is now in use by All Saints Church and under their stewardship, is to receive a £10,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant to help fund stonework repairs and urgent roof repairs which will help remove this Grade II* listed church from the Historic England ‘Heritage at Risk’ register.

The National Churches Trust grant adds to support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, with initial approval for an award of £221,500 as well as a development grant of £28,400.

The church, believed to be the oldest in Worcester, is in a conservation area. The work will include clearing the gutters and tower of five years accumulation of bird guano.

Repairs are urgently needed with the building’s main roof leaking in heavy rain requiring buckets to be placed to catch the deluge, notably next to the main entrance.

The City of Worcester is applying for City of Heritage status and the improvements to St Helen's Church, with increased opening times and opportunities to engage with heritage, will contribute to their application.

Despite changes and additions over the years, culminating in a major Victorian restoration, the church remains a good example of how city centre churches would have looked in the Middle Ages. The church houses many notable artefacts including the monuments of Anne, wife of John Fleet alias Walsgrove, (1600); Alderman John Nash (1661); and 'Dud' Dudley's monument to his wife bearing his own epitaph.

Aside from the safety and usability of the building, it is essential for the project to go ahead so that the wide range of ministry activity taking place can continue, and so that the local community and visitors can benefit from its prominent high street position, history and architecture. The current repair project is a turning point for the church, showing that St Helen's is a significant cultural destination and beneficial to its community.

YORKSHIRE

MALTON

Malton Methodist Church  - Grade II*

Malton Methodist Church is set to benefit from a £10,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant to help fund urgent roof repairs to enable the church to re-open to the public.

The church, one of the oldest Methodist chapels in the country, has been carefully preserved and maintained by eight generations of Methodists for more than 200 years. It has a history of continually responding to the needs of the community.

The first Methodist Church was established in Old Maltongate, Malton, and John Wesley preached there during the 1770s. Having outgrown this place, Methodists had a vision to establish the present church building in Saville Street; designed by the itinerant Methodist Minister and architect, William Jenkins, around the square auditory format. It opened in 1811.

The 'new' church was built by public subscription, including with the help of the 4th Earl Fitzwilliam.  It sits in the heart of the market town of Malton. The church is Grade II* listed, and is one of just 41 such listed buildings in the Methodist connexion. Historic England consider the church to be of national significance.

The church has a number of important historical features, including a distinctive facade, typical of the work of Jenkins. Only three other Grade II* listed churches in regular worship within the Methodist church are older. Originally seating 1,000, it is one of the largest buildings of its kind in both Malton and the district of Ryedale. Today, it has a seating capacity of approximately 500.

As a result of the structural issue with the roof, the church has been necessarily closed on safety grounds. The roof repairs will enable the church to re-open again for worship and other purposes, and will be available for the community to use.

The church has an amphitheatre format and the church is actively exploring options for making its building more suited for wider community uses. Improved facilities within the building would complement other venues in the town, enriching Malton’s reputation – not only as Yorkshire’s Food Capital but also as an established destination in Ryedale for the arts and the home of good quality music.

SCOTLAND

DUNSCORE

Dunscore Parish Church

Presbyterian - Scotland - Grade A

Dunscore Parish Church, a Grade A listed building,  is to receive a £10,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant to help deal with problems caused by water penetration to the walls, roof and around the windows and to restore internal plaster work.

The repair work will mean that Dunscore Parish Church will be a much more comfortable and welcoming building and ensure that the church has a sound future.

The improved conditions will allow the church to hold events, concerts and meetings, and to store valuable heritage items that are currently stored elsewhere as they are liable to deteriorate due to the damp conditions.

Dunscore church was built in 1823 and is located in the centre of the village. It was designed by local architect James Thomson with a simple rectangular plan, a tower on the west gable behind the raised pulpit and a horseshoe-shaped gallery on columns. James Thomson (1784-1832) was a Dumfries architect and is responsible for the design of several important local public buildings and village churches.

The church is in a prominent position and is an important landmark, surrounded by its churchyard. Dunscore has an ecclesiastical history dating back to the 12th century.

NORTHERN IRELAND

BELFAST

Mount Merrion Parish Church

Church of Ireland  - Grade B1

Mount Merrion Parish Church, in Belfast, is to receive a £10,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant to help fund urgent roof repairs to prevent the main roof collapsing.

The project will ensure that this modern listed building, which is in an unsafe condition, can continue its contribution to the community.

Mount Merrion Parish Church is a symmetrical double-height red-brick church in the modernist style, dominated by a vertical glazed gable with a spire. It was built in 1963 to designs by Dennis O’Donoghue Hanna. Of particular interest is the unusual and impressive roof structure, and supporting frames made from laminated timber, or ‘glulam’

The two laminated portal frames which support the main roof of this B1 listed building are ‘delaminating’ – the layers are separating. This is due to water ingress. If allowed to continue, this could result in the collapse of the roof. By replacing the timbers, the structural integrity of the roof will be secured. Further works will prevent water entry and heat loss.

Mount Merrion Parish Church is used by a huge variety of local groups. There is an Allotment Project, a Community Drop-in, a toddler group, Messy Church, holiday clubs, youth work, homework club, keep-fit classes, music tuition, hosting of public meetings, parties and fundraising events. A members of the congregation is trained as a ‘Christians Against Poverty’ Lifeskills Coach, and runs courses helping residents in the local community.

The project to keep the roof secure means that the church can remain central to its community.

MAINTENANCE GRANTS

The first National Churches Trust Maintenance Grants, supported by the Pilgrim Trust,  help 12 churches in England, six in Scotland and one in Northern Ireland.  Full details