St Helen’s can trace its origins back to 1120. It is possible 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 is through the original door, one of the oldest in the country. Among the treasures of the church are a font, 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 and should 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.
Top tips from completed project feedback:
Make sure you employ a structural engineer who has experience and knoweldge of ancient buildings, check this with your architect
Build in a very large contingency