A £330,000 rescue package for 21 of the UK’s most historic and community-minded churches and chapels has been announced by the National Churches Trust.
Huw Edwards, broadcaster and journalist and Vice-President of the National Churches Trust said:
“The National Churches Trust’s £330,000 repair and rescue funding will safeguard the future of 21 places of worship in England, Wales and Scotland and strengthen local communities“
“National Churches Trust grants will help pay for urgent repairs to crumbling spires, leaking roofs and ancient drains, helping to bring some of the most beautiful and historic churches and chapels back to their full glory.”
“National Churches Trust grants will also fund a range of projects to install kitchens, toilets and improve access for the elderly and people with disabilities. This will help churches and chapels become welcoming community hubs that can better serve the needs of worshippers, community organisations and visitors. “
Places of worship in England, Wales and Scotland benefit from the latest round of funding from church building support charity, the National Churches Trust. Amongst the churches being offered grants are:
- St Pancras Old Church, one of the oldest churches in London and a site of Christian worship since the 4thcentury.
- St Anne’s Church, Chasetown, Staffordshire, in 1883 one of the first churches in the UK to have electricity.
- St Mary, St Peter and St Paul, Westbury-on-Severn, Gloucestershire, a church with a tower dating from 1270, originally built to guard the Severn river against possible incursions from Wales.
- The United Reformed Church in Ottery St Mary, Devon, one of the oldest non-conformist churches in England.
- St Mary’s Church in Clapham, London, one of the major Roman Catholic Victorian churches of south London.
- St Luke’s Church in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, built in 1886, with a growing congregation and a mission to help ex-offenders from local prisons.
Buildings supported come from a wide range of denominations including Church of England, Church in Wales, Church of Scotland and Roman Catholic churches, as well as a United Reformed Church, Methodist chapel sand a building belonging to the Celestial Church of Christ.
Claire Walker, Chief Executive of the National Churches Trust said:
“Many of the churches and chapels we are helping in this funding round serve small rural communities. All too often, churches and chapels are the only community building left in a village. Keeping them open and in good repair is vital for local people who use them not only for worship but also for social and welfare activities.”
“For many people, the beauty of village churches is one of the most attractive features of the UK’s heritage. However, keeping them in good repair is usually way beyond what a small village can afford. That’s why the work of the National Churches Trust and other funders in supporting church buildings is so important.”
“As the National Churches Trust receives no financial support from church authorities or government, our work is entirely funded through the generosity of our supporters. So if you would like to help us to keep churches, chapels and meeting houses alive, please consider joining us as a Friend or by making a donation to support our work. There is full information on our website at www.nationalchurchestrust.org .”
St Petroc’s Church, Bodmin, Cornwall, PL31 2AB
Grade I (Church of England)
St Petroc’s Church receives a £10,000 National Churches Trust Community Grant to help fund a project to install kitchen and toilet facilities within the church, including disabled and baby changing facilities.
St Petroc’s is the largest parish church in Cornwall. It features as one of the thirty churches in the BBC’s Songs of Praise Book, ‘The Nation’s Favourite Churches’. Originally a Norman church, it is now primarily late 15th century. Adjoining the churchyard to the east are the remains of the Chapel of St Thomas, which is a scheduled ancient monument. The site is associated with pre-Norman monastic activity; the first dedication to St Petroc being 1299.
The church is used for civic and concert events. It acts as a centre for outreach, including local food bank collections. The present project to provide kitchen and toilet facilities will increase the potential for community use and reflect the demand and the changing demographics of the local and church community. Inward and European migration has resulted in an increase in the number of young families and children attending services and baptisms. There is an equal demand from the elderly element of the congregation and those visiting or attending events at the church.
St Wenappa’s Church, Gwennap, Cornwall TR16 6BD
Grade I (Church of England)
St Wenappa’s Church receives a £20,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant to help fund urgent repairs to the roof, which is in a very poor condition with slates slipping regularly.
Gwennap is a hamlet of about 20 houses with the church at its centre. Founded on a Celtic Monastery, the church dates from the 13thcentury and is now a three-aisled church with fine Victorian windows. It is one of only four churches in Cornwall with a detached bell tower. Bells are rung for services, weddings if required, and on Thursdays evenings for practice.
United Reformed Church, Ottery St Mary, Devon EX11 1EU
Grade II (United Reformed Church)
The United Reformed Church receives a £10,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant to help fund urgent repairs to the church roof, including re-slating.
The church was started by a renegade vicar from Talaton, Robert Collins, who joined other clergy in defying the political control exerted over the church in the 17th century. In 1662 he started an independent church of dissenters, meeting in the family home, Chanters House.
It cost him dearly. He was fined, imprisoned in Exeter Gaol, suffered a breakdown and eventually forced into exile in Holland for his faith in Jesus. On his return to Ottery in 1688, he found that a church had been built as a meeting place for his congregation. It is today one of the oldest non conformist churches in England.
Inside the Church , in the early days a trap door allowed the preacher to escape from the militia who were sometimes in search of dissenting ministers.
The church is used by a number of community groups and the Ottery Food Bank, run by Churches Together in Ottery, is based at the church.
All Saints Church, Thurlestone, Devon TQ7 3NP
Grade II* (Church of England)
All Saints Church receives a £10,000 National Churches Trust repair grant to help fund urgent repairs to the tower. The stonework has suffered badly due to the nature of the stone (mudstone) in such an exposed location, and it is denaturing in places.
All Saints Church, dedicated to St Mary is an ancient structure built of dark grey local slate, with an embattled tower, a lofty spire and it has five bells.
The church is at the centre of the village and its hall provides accommodation for several activities, including regular well-attended coffee mornings, soup lunches in the winter, three course lunches once a week for those finding it difficult to cook, bridge lessons, cream teas for visitors in the summer months and monthly showings of the latest films.
St Mary, St Peter and St Paul, Westbury-on-Severn, Gloucestershire GL14 1PS
Grade I (Church of England)
St Mary, St Peter and St Paul Church receives a £40,000 National Churches Trust Cornerstone Grant to help fund urgent repairs to its 150 foot spire which has been damaged by water penetration.
An extraordinarily large church which dates from about 1300, a special feature is a detached tower, built about 1270 as a garrison or watch tower to guard the river against possible incursions from Wales. The spire was added in the 14th century and is made entirely of wood. Looking up inside, it resembles a giant spider’s web of timber.
The tower contains six bells, the heaviest ring of six in Gloucestershire. There is a fine collection of Victorian stained glass windows by well-known firms including Clayton and Bell, Kemps and Tower.
Holy Trinity Church, Fareham, Hampshire PO16 0EL
Grade II* (Church of England)
Holy Trinity Church receives a £10,000 National Churches Trust Repair Gant to pay fund urgent repairs to secure falling masonry and to remove the remains of a spire.
Holy Trinity Church is located in the main street of Fareham and is the civic church. Built in 1835, it is an outstanding example of early 19thcentury Gothic style with an elegant tower and graceful interior.
The church is built of a local white brick with stone dressings. It was a Commissioners’ church, its architect Thomas Ellis Owen (1805–1862), a Portsmouth man who was largely responsible for the development of Southsea.
Holy Family Church, Gravesend, Kent DA12 5DQ
Unlisted (Church of England)
Holy Family Church receives a £5,000 National Churches Trust Community Grant project to help fund a project to install new toilets, with baby changing facilities and disabled access .
The church was built in 1957-8 and consecrated in June 1959. It has an open worship area and a spacious hall attached. The hall has not been significantly improved since the 1960s.
As well as serving the spiritual needs of Christians living in the area, Holy Family Church also supports community-led organisations and initiatives that serve local people and families. The hall is the only community facility in the area.
The immediate benefits of the improvements will be that the hall will be better serviced, more attractive and safer to users. The main benefit will be that the hall will be used more frequently by families and community organisations in the Parish, which is one of the most disadvantaged in the country according to official statistics.
Trinity Methodist Church, Clitheroe, Lancashire, BB7 2JY
Locally Listed (Methodist)
Trinity Methodist Church receives a £10,000 National Churches Trust Community Grant to help find a project including installing toilet facilities, improving disabled access and removing all pews and replacing them with removable seating.
Built in 1887, this is an archetypal, medium sized Wesleyan Chapel.The church is immediately next to the town park and is locally referred to as ‘the church on the park’. In 1963 the three Methodist churches in Clitheroe chose this building as their joint church. At that time there were significant modifications made to the interior of the church. Since then there has been little change to the church itself apart from decoration and repair.
Currently, the building is only open for services and other special events. The project will enable the building to be used for a wide range of activities and it is envisaged that it will be open for significant periods during the week.
Celestial Church of Christ, 187 Glengal Rd, Peckham, London SE15 6RN
Grade II (Celestial Church of Christ)
The Celestial Church of Christ receives a £20,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant to help fund a large project to fix dangerous stonework and replace parts of the roof.
Formerly a Church of England building, the church was built in 1864-65 by Enoch Bassett Keeling. He was master of the short-lived vogue of “Eclectic Gothic”. His work was often unloved and relatively few of his buildings have survived.
The Celestial Church of Christ is active in helping local people and plans further work to care for young people, irrespective of their religious orientation.
Elephant and Castle Parish in London was established in the year 1975 and is the second Celestial Church of Christ church to be established in UK and Ireland. It is the largest Celestial Church of Christ parish with a congregation of about 500 registered members.
St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, Clapham, London SW4 7AP
Grade II* (Roman Catholic)
St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church receives a £40,000 National Churches Trust Cornerstone Grant to help fund urgent repairs to the spire, 170 feet tall and a major local landmark.
St Mary’s in Clapham is one of the major Catholic Victorian churches of South London. It was opened to serve the growing numbers of Catholics living around Clapham Common in the middle of the 19th Century who came to work on the new roads and railways, as well as meet the demand by the rising middle classes to enlarge their domestic staffs.
The church was designed in a Gothic style by William Wardell and has later additions by J E Bentley, architect of Westminster Cathedral.
From 1847 Mass was said in a house in North Street, Clapham Old Town, known as St Anne’s, owned by the Daughters of the Heart of Mary. This had to suffice until the arrival of the Redemptorist Order in Clapham, who arrived in 1848 at the invitation of (Bishop) Wiseman, and who quickly commissioned designs from William Wardell for a spectacular new Decorated Gothic Revival church. The foundation stone was laid on 2 August 1849 and the church was opened by Cardinal Wiseman on 14 May 1851. The church was consecrated on 13 October 1852, its debt having been cleared by a large donation from (Fr) Edmund Douglas, a wealthy convert who had joined the Redemptorist Congregation. The foundation stone was laid in 1849.
St Pancras Old Church, Pancras Rd, London NW1 1UL
Grade II* (Church of England)
Ancient drains threaten the longevity of this picturesque Grade II* listed building, one of the oldest churches in London . St Pancras Old Church receives a £20,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant to help fund a major project to prevent rainwater from destabilising the building. This will stop further subsidence and allow for future repairs and upgrades to wiring and lighting.
St Pancras Old Church has been a site of Christian worship since the 4th century. Records of the present church date back to the 11thcentury. The altar houses a 7thcentury altar stone and medieval fabric survives, although much of the visible church dates from 1848.
Situated behind the busy inner-city St Pancras railway station, the church retains its rural character, surrounded by a Victorian park and historic burial grounds. Until 150 years ago, people were still being buried in the churchyard. Notable burials include Mary Wollstonecraft, author of The Vindication of the Rights of Women and Sir John Soane. Sir John Soane built his impressive family mausoleum in the churchyard, the design of which went on to inspire Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s famous red telephone box. The churchyard was also the site of the first romantic tryst between Mary Godwin and Percy Bysshe Shelley.
St Peter and St Paul’s Church, Scarning, Norfolk NR19 2PF
Grade I (Church of England)
St Peter and St Paul’s Church receives a £10,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant to help fund a project to completely replace rainwater goods and provide a new drainage system.
A medieval and later flint, brick and stone parish church, consisting of a west tower, an aisleless nave with a south porch and a chancel with a south vestry
The parish of Scarning lies immediately to the west of the parish of Dereham. It comprises the old village around the church, several outlying hamlets and a large, modern estate on the Dereham boundary.
The only amenities in the centre of the village are the playing field, village hall and church. There are no shops or pubs and public transport is very poor. The church has free use of the village hall and its facilities, which stands opposite. The church has an outreach ministry to a large care home in the village which specialises in dementia care.
Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Ringstead, Northamptonshire NN14 4DH Grade I (Church of England)
The Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary church receives a £10,000 National Churches Trust Community Grant to help fund a project to install a toilet and serving area and create an open plan functional area.
The church dates back to 1124. The bell tower is unique as it is a three sectional tower and spire together. Four of the original bells remain today. Memorial tablets in this tower date back to the 1700s. The south door and porch date back to 1240, the porch having a diagonal buttress and carved stone finial depicting the tree of life.
In addition to worship, the church is open daily for visitors and is used by groups of children, adults and the elderly. There is a huge need for a toilet/serving area and an open space facility, which will at least double the use of the building. This will allow use of the church for concerts and recitals, by art and history groups and allow the church to create a cultural and heritage centre for use by local people and visitors.
St Peter and St Paul Church, Maperton, Somerset BA9 8EJ
Grade II (Church of England)
St Peter and St Paul Church receives a £10,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant to help fund a project to recover the roofs to the nave, chancel, north and south transepts and to repair windows.
St Peter and St Paul is the focus of a tiny village that has no shops, no pub and no village hall. There has been a church on the site of the present structure since about 940 A.D. The existing tower dates from the late 15th century.
Fire swept through the church on 26 December 1849 destroying the roof. By 1869 the church was said to be dilapidated and it was demolished, except for the tower.
The new church , designed by Henry Hall in Early English style in 1869, cost £1,500 and was built of rubble with freestone dressings under a roof of Maperton tiles.
St Anne’s Church, Chasetown, Staffordshire WS7 3QL
Grade II* (Church of England)
St Anne’s Church receives a £10,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant to help fund repairs to the roof and gutters.
St Anne’s was one of the first churches in the UK to have electricity. John Robinson, a director of the local colliery, had St Anne’s built for the benefit of the miners. Its connection with the colliery led to an electricity cable being laid between No 2 pit and the church in 1883.
The church was built in 1865 and its symmetrical design is unusual and reflects the style of the Romanesque Revival because its designer, Edward Adams, was an industrial architect who spent more time creating railway stations than churches .
TYNE AND WEAR
St John’s Church, Whorlton, Westerhope, Newcastle upon Tyne NE5 1NN
Unlisted (Church of England)
St John’s Church receives a £20,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant to help fund urgent repairs to the roof and to improve waterproofing.
The church is a historic landmark for those entering Westerhope. It is by far the oldest building between Westerhope and the outskirts of Newcastle.
It has a unique design reflecting its evolutionary history. The first part was constructed in 1866 and consisted of a nave, with fully exposed roof leg scissor trusses; a chancel with a rounded apse and a modest bell tower. In 1911, the east end was demolished and a new taller chancel was built. In 1999 a stained glass window was installed in the chancel which depicts the ‘Creation’.
In addition to church services, the church is a popular venue for family celebrations and is also regularly used for: choral and orchestral concerts, local history exhibitions, other local exhibitions such as fashion designs and photography, music and flower festivals and educational visits on a variety of topics by local primary and special schools.
St Luke’s Church, Claremont Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE2 4AH
Grade II (Church of England)
St Luke’s Church receives a £40,000 National Churches Trust Cornerstone Grant to help fund urgent repairs to the roof and replacement of rainwater goods.
St Luke’s Church is on the English Heritage At Risk Register and is currently not in use due to safety concerns, with services taking place in the church hall.
The church was built in 1886 as a daughter church of St Andrews, Newcastle, and replaced an earlier corrugated iron mission church on this site. Together with the church hall, it forms a prominent red-brick building group within the local setting of Claremont Road, and within the Framlington Place Conservation Area.
St Luke’s Church has a growing, lively congregation, well situated to reach out into the University and medical communities. It has a strong sense of mission to marginalised people, especially ex-offenders, and hosts a weekly event for ex-offenders from local prisons. Bringing the church building back into use will enable further expansion of mission and community uses, as well as providing a larger worship space for the growing congregation.
Wesley Chapel, Oxford Street, Harrogate, Yorkshire HG1 1PP
Grade II (Methodist)
The Wesley Chapel receives a £5,000 National Churches Trust Community Grant project to help fund the removal of downstairs pews, the creation of a level floor and the re-design of some existing rooms and the kitchen.
The building is a very large neo-classical chapel of 1862 origin situated in the centre of Harrogate. It was designed and built by Lockwood and Mawson. It is a grade II listed church building and a dominant landmark in the town. Its organ is 100 years old and the Chapel also have a Yamaha grand piano and guest pianists include Stephen Hough, Angela Hewitt, and Christina Ortiz.
The chapel’s structure no longer suits its current elderly congregation and restricts the activities required by younger members of the church family. Just as importantly it actively prevents the worship space being utilised during the rest of the week. This development will provide the maximum flexibility for the community and full use of the chapel space, offering full weekday use for many more community groups and an extra revenue stream that can secure the use of the building as a resource for the community. Specifically, the project development will be focused on encouraging and supporting imaginative worship and spirituality.
St Andrew’s Church, Garden City, Flintshire CH5 2HN
Unlisted (Church in Wales)
St Andrew’s Church receives a £10,000 National Churches Trust Community Grant to help fund a project to re-order and refurbish the church to make it a multipurpose building. This will include a new extension for toilet facilities, a new kitchen installation, a new sliding partition to separate the Sanctuary, upgraded meeting room and general redecorations.
The church is a mainly brick built building. It celebrated its 50th anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone in 2012. The new church replaced an older wooden structure on the banks of the River Dee. Many of the internal fittings / furnishings were built by local parishioners.
The existing Church hall is used extensively by community groups. However, the hall’s deteriorating condition means that it is becoming prohibitively expensive to both maintain and insure. The closure of the local Chapel, library and snooker hall/social club means that there are virtually no other community facilities.
A new dual purpose facility will offer both a church and community rooms for the local community and businesses to use. Garden City is now part of the new Communities First area in Flintshire, and as such has been recognised by the Welsh Government as an area in need of extra help due to its level of social deprivation.
St Peter’s Church, Llanbedr Ystrad Yw, Crickhowell, Powys NP8 1SR
Grade II* (Church in Wales)
St Peter’s Church receives a £10,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant to help fund the restoration of the stone tiled roof and to repair stonework and pointing.
St Peter’s is an 11thcentury church, built on an earlier sacred site, with a 14thcentury fortified tower. The church is the largest building in the village. Nestling in a fold of the hills above Crickhowell, at the foot of the Black Mountains, Llanbedr is a small but lively village with a Church School, pub and Village Hall as well St Peter’s Church.
The Welsh word Llanbedr means St. Peter, and the first priest listed in the parish was in the 11th Century. It is an ancient settlement known as Llanbedr Ystrad Yw by the Romans – which roughly translates as “The Llanbedr which is in the region of the yew tree” referring to an ancient yew in Cwmdu. The yew trees in Llanbedr churchyard are also ancient, one probably nearly three thousand years old, so it is likely to have been a place of worship before Christianity arrived.
Yetholm Church, Kirk Yetholm, Scottish Borders, TD5 8PF
Listing B (II*) (Church of Scotland)
Yetholm Church receives a £10,000 National Churches Trust Community Grant to help fund a project to install new toilets and a kitchen.
Built in the 19th Century to replace an old daub and wattle building, Yetholm Church is an imposing kirk with tower and corner columns created from local dark stone. It sits in the historic village of Kirk Yetholm at the end of the Pennine way and the beginning of the new Scottish National Trail. The medieval bell is still in use. As the nearest burial ground to Flodden, the graveyard is believed to have interred officers fallen in that battle (1513).
The installation of modern facilities will enable the church to be used for people to meet, for cultural events and to address the needs of weekday visitors many of whom are pilgrims or walkers.