Repair funding helps eleven of England’s historic churches

Published: Friday, October 24, 2014

 

Eleven historic churches in England are to benefit from £470,000 of repair funding from the WREN Heritage Fund following recommendations made by the National Churches Trust.

Churches receiving funding include:

  • St Peter’s Church, Rugby, Warwickshire, reputed to be the first public building in England lit by gas.
  • St Michael’s Church, Kirkby Thore, Cumbria. boasting the largest church bell in Cumbria.
  • The Church of St Margaret, Church Lane, Somersby , Lincolnshire famed for its connection to the poet laureate Alfred Lord Tennyson, who was baptised there and whose father was Rector.
  • The Collegiate Church of St Mary in Warwick, whose Beauchamp Chapel ranks as one of Britain’s greatest architectural treasures.
  • St Wulfram’s Church in Grantham, Lincolnshire,  whose exceptional 282ft high  spire is famed as “the finest steeple in England”.

 Over the past four years, thanks to the partnership between the National Churches Trust and the WREN Heritage Fund, more than £1 million has been awarded to help fund the repair of 28 churches in England.

The WREN (Waste Recycling Environmental)   Heritage Fund awards grants to community, conservation and heritage projects situated within 10 miles of landfill sites, from funds donated by UK waste and resource management company FCC Environment to the Landfill Communities Fund.

Claire Walker, Chief Executive of the National Churches Trust said:: “Churches contribute so much to serving local people, but often lack the resources to repair and maintain their buildings. That’s why the National Churches Trust is delighted to be working with Waste Recycling Environmental (WREN) as their adviser on places of worship. This successful partnership has ensured that over the past four years more than £1 million has gone to help fund the repair of 28 churches in England that open regularly for public worship and other activities. Based on the recommendation of the National Churches Trust, WREN’s latest funding of £470,000 will help eleven more churches restore their architectural heritage and remain at the heart of their local community.”

Kristian Dales, sales and marketing director at FCC Environment said:: “Working with WREN we make a significant difference to people’s lives by awarding grants to community, environmental and heritage projects across the UK. We believe that it’s very important to maintain and protect historical sites such as the churches awarded funding this year. Buildings like this are part of the country’s rich history and we must ensure they remain intact for future generations.”

View photo gallery of the churches receiving grants

Full list of churches receiving National Churches Trust Wren Grant repair funding: 

Buckinghamshire

St Cecilia’s Church, Church End, Adstock, Buckinghamshire, MK18 2HY

A fine medieval church boasting an original aisle-less Nave, and North and South doorways adorned with exceptional Romanesque sculpture.

£20,000 National Churches Trust WREN Grant

Grade 1 Listed (Church of England)

St Cecilia’s Church dates to the 12th century, retaining its original aisle-less Nave and North and South doorways, which are adorned with fine Romanesque sculpture. It was constructed from coursed rubble, with ironstone blocks decoratively used on the quoins and buttresses, and has undergone significant development during its history. The chancel is 14th century, and boasts corbels decorated with naturalistic foliage, a trefoil-headed piscina and windows with reticulated tracery. The tower is 15th century, and has an embattled parapet: its construction appears to have been part of a major reconstruction, when the nave walls were rebuilt with two big three-light windows. The two bells date to about 1440. The porch is dated to 1581 by a sundial in the gable, and the roof is dated to 1597. The church underwent further restoration during the Victorian era.

This project aims to carry out urgent repairs to the rotted trusses, lead-work and stonework over the Nave roof, which is in danger of collapse.

Cumbria

St Michael’s Church, Cross Street, Kirkby Thore, Cumbria, CA10 1UR

A 12th century church boasting the largest church bell in Cumbria, said to have been salvaged from Shap Abbey when Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries.

£25,000 National Churches Trust WREN Grant

Grade 2* Listed (Church of England)

St Michael’s Church is the oldest building in Kirkby Thore. Its heritage, both physical and spiritual, is bound up with the lives of all who have lived and worked in the village for nearly a millennium, and it continues to support its local community today. The church was built in the 12th century, using red sandstone recycled from a nearby Roman Fort – and the original Norman nave and west tower survive today. The chancel was enlarged in the 13th century, and the windows, porch and north aisle date to the 14th century. The oak pulpit, dated to 1651, is finely carved with flowers, foliage and figures. The church bell – reputedly the largest in Cumbria – was cast in York in 1450 and is said to have been salvaged from Shap Abbey when Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries.

St Michael’s Church was recently placed on English Heritage At Risk Register, and this project aims to undertake urgent repairs to the roof and to the stonework on the external walls.

Greater Manchester

Holy Trinity Church, Platts Lane, Rusholme, Manchester, Greater Manchester, M14 5NF

The second "pot church" designed by renowned architect Edmund Sharpe, unusual because the main building material used in its construction was terracotta.

National Churches Trust WREN Grant, £75,000

Grade 2* Listed (Church of England)

Holy Trinity Church was built in 1845–46 by Lancaster architect Edmund Sharpe, on the commission of Thomas Carrill Worsley of Platt Hall. Worsley wanted to build the first Anglican church in the area, but found himself in competition with his neighbour. Hearing that Mr Anson of Birch Hall had completed St James' Church in Danes Road, Worsley arranged for Holy Trinity to be immediately consecrated. This was carried out on the 26th June 1846 by the Rt Revd John Bird Sumner, Bishop of Chester, although the spire was not completed until 1850. Holy Trinity was the second ‘pot church’ designed by Sharpe, so-called because the main building material used in the construction of the church was terracotta – an extremely rare feature for an English church. The spire was replaced in 1912, and in 1966–67 a church hall was built and attached to the east wall.

This project aims to undertake urgent works to repair the tower and spire, including cleaning, re-pointing and replacing the terracotta stones, and carrying out lead and asphalt repairs.

Kent

The Church of St Peter and St Paul, The Street, Upper Stoke, Rochester, Kent, ME3 9RT

A beautiful church dating back to 1120 and boasting a wealth of interesting features, including exceptional stained glass windows.

National Churches Trust WREN Grant, £45,000

Grade 1 Listed (Church of England)

The Church of St Peter and St Paul is an impressive building, which dominates the small village of Upper Stoke on the Isle of Grain in Kent. The walls were constructed of random rubble Kentish ragstone. The nave, chancel and aisles date back to its foundation in 1120, although much else dates to a major restoration in 1898. The church has stunning views across the Stoke Saltings, and a pretty lych gate at the entrance to its churchyard. Inside it boasts a wealth of interesting features, including some fantastic stained glass windows and a wooden rood screen presented by the church wardens to commemorate the villagers who died in the Great War.

This project aims to carry out major fabric repairs to prevent continuing ingress of water, including replacing tiles on the nave and north and south aisle roofs, re-pointing stonework on the tower, and underpinning masonry on the south aisle.

 Lincolnshire

St Andrew’s Parish Church, Firsby Road, Halton Holegate, Spilsby, Lincolnshire, PE23 5PB

A fine 15th century church with many outstanding features, including a splendid Victorian roof adorned with bosses and 10 angels.

 National Churches Trust WREN Grant, £75,000

Grade 2* Listed (Church of England)

 St Andrew’s Church was built around 1400. Today it is used extensively by the local primary school for school services and as part of their term-time curriculum activities when they regularly visit the building and churchyard. The church holds regular coffee mornings and table top sales during the year, as well as special events such as musical concerts, choirs and open days for the viewing of historic church records. St Andrew’s boasts many outstanding features including lofty and graceful nave arches, 16 large clerestory windows, and much elaborate carving, including on the pews which are richly adorned with 15th century poppy heads. The nave roof was destroyed during a storm in 1846 and given a splendid replacement featuring bosses and 10 angel figures.

 In 2009, the poor state of the lead-work on the roofs was identified and in 2013 the Church was placed on the English Heritage At Risk Register. This project aims to replace the lead-work on all the roofs, repair the rainwater goods and clerestory windows, and upgrade the current drainage system, protecting the building from cold, damp and rain and securing its long-term future.

Church of St Margaret, Church Lane, Somersby, East Lindsey, Lincolnshire, PE23 4NR

An ancient church famed for its connection to the poet laureate Alfred Lord Tennyson, who was baptised there and whose father was Rector.

National Churches Trust WREN Grant, £20,000

Grade 2* Listed (Church of England)

St Margaret’s Church is an ancient church, standing raised above the road through the village. It was constructed prior to 1612 of local sandstone from the local Somersby quarry and patched with brick – and later underwent significant restoration from 1863 to 1865. Outside the porch is a well preserved and extremely beautiful 15th century cross. St Margaret’s Church is famed for its connection to the poet laureate Alfred Lord Tennyson. His father George Tennyson – known as Dr. Tennyson – was Rector there, and after Alfred was born in Somersby on 6th August 1809 – the fourth of 12 children, he was baptised at his father’s church.

St Margaret’s Church is currently on the English Heritage At Risk Register due to serious water ingress. Currently the roof is covered by tarpaulins. This project aims to repair the nave roof which is currently suffering from serious leakage, and the tower’s stonework.

St Wulfram’s Church, Grantham, Lincolnshire, NG31 6RR

A special medieval church whose exceptional 282ft high  spire is famed as “the finest steeple in England”

 National Churches Trust WREN Grant, £20,000

Grade 1 Listed (Church of England)

St Wulfram’s Church is renowned for its exceptional spire: at 282ft, it is the 6th highest in the country and dominates views of the town. In his book England’s Thousand Best Churches, Simon Jenkins gave the church a five-star rating, in part for boasting “the finest steeple in England.” Constructed in the early 1300s, St Wulfram’s was the only church in Grantham until the 18th century and a chief beneficiary of the town’s thriving medieval wool trade, and as a result it developed into one of the largest medieval churches in the country. Built of local limestone, its design was influenced by Salisbury Cathedral. The church was restored in 1866-67 by Sir George Gilbert Scott. Of particular interest are the window frames from different, the ballflower  ornamentation, the cryptt chapel, and the north porch, built to house relics of St Wulfram.

This project aims to carry out urgent masonry work to the top of St Wulfram’s iconic tower and spire, to preserve it for future generations.

Nottinghamshire

Gatehouse Shrine Chapel, Cheapside, Worksop, Nottinghamshire, S80 2BW

A chapel whose external wall, covered in sculpture, makes its frontage unique in the UK. 

National Churches Trust WREN Grant, £20,000

Grade 1 Listed

Worksop Priory is an Augustinian monastery founded in the early 12th century. The Gatehouse was added in the early 14th century and includes a Shrine Chapel still used for worship today. Its external wall is covered in sculpture – a frontage which is unique in the UK but is deteriorating fast. The Princes Regeneration Trust has been working in close partnership with the Worksop Priory and Gatehouse Community Trust and English Heritage since 2008 to plan its restoration, which offers an opportunity to create renewal in this part of Worksop and allow the Gatehouse Shrine Chapel to be more widely used for the benefit of the local community.

This project aims to carry out urgent fabric repair works, as the first step of an extensive restoration programme to secure the current fabric of the building and ensure future conservation.

Staffordshire

St Luke’s Church, Fountain Street, Leek, Staffordshire, ST13 6JS

A church which was richly endowed by the prominent local families of the 19th century, and today remains at the heart of its busy community life.

National Churches Trust WREN Grant, £45,000

Grade 2* Listed (Church of England)

St Luke’s Church was consecrated in December 1848, and today it has a very busy community life. The church tower was added in 1854 and the chancel was extended in 1873 by Frederick and Horace Francis. The main fabric of the church is of coursed and squared stone with Welsh slate roofs with ridge-cresting. The church was richly endowed by a number of prominent local families, and several of its notable fittings were provided as memorials to some of their members. Today, St Luke’s has a busy community life.

This project aims to carry out urgent weatherproofing work, including re-slating the nave, porch and aisle roofs, replacing the rainwater goods, and re-pointing the east side of the tower.

Warwickshire

Collegiate Church of St Mary, Old Square, Warwick, Warwickshire, CV34 4RA

A church whose Beauchamp Chapel ranks as one of Britain’s greatest architectural treasures.

National Churches Trust WREN Grant, £75,000

Grade 1 Listed (Church of England)

The Collegiate Church of St Mary is a busy working church, set in the heart of the ancient city of Warwick. Founded in 1123 by Roger de Newburgh, Earl of Warwick, people have worshipped there for nearly 1000 years; and have left evidence of their faith in the architecture and decoration of the Norman building, one of the largest and most interesting churches in England. The crypt houses a rare example of a medieval ducking stool. The 14th century chancel, vestry and chapter house represent the highest peak of English Gothic architecture. The glorious Beauchamp Chapel – built in the 15th century to house the tomb of Richard Beauchamp, the Earl of Warwick and one of the richest and most powerful people in the history of England – is a magnificent example of the ecclesiastical architecture of its time and ranks as one of Britain’s greatest treasures. It houses the tombs of Robert Dudley, Earl of Leicester, his brotherAmbrose, Earl of Warwick, and his son, the “Noble Impe”.  

This project aims to carry out very urgent roof and masonry repairs to the Beauchamp Chapel, securing this chapel of national significance for future generations.

St Peter’s Church, The Square, Dunchurch, Rugby, Warwickshire, CV22 6PE

A church reputed to be the first public building in England lit by gas, and whose east window's fine 14th century geometric tracery, removed during the late Victorian restoration, now adorns the entrance hall of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

 National Churches Trust WREN Grant, £50,000

Grade 2* Listed (Church of England)

St Peter's Church is an impressive red sandstone building, dating to the 14th & 15th centuries. Its construction was for the most part the work of the monks of Pipewell, a Cistercian abbey near Kettering in Northamptonshire: the Abbey owned lands and property in Warwickshire, and appropriated and glorified St Peter’s in 1175. St Peter’s is reputed to be the first public building in England lit by gas. Its impressive west tower changes colour in its topmost stage and has a richly detailed parapet. In 1724 six bells were installed, which are still rung every Sunday and for weddings and other special events: for example, every year since the Gunpowder Plot in 1605 a ‘Guy Fawkes’ peal has been rung prior to a service of thanksgiving for the preservation of the King’s life. A new organ was installed in 1972, which was often used for BBC recordings. The east window's fine 14th century geometric tracery, removed during the late Victorian restoration, now adorns the entrance hall of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.

 This project aims to carry out essential high level masonry repairs to the decaying red sandstone walls, window surrounds, and stonework on the West end door main entrance.