Historic Norfolk churches to get £2m in grants
By Keith Morris
English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) have announced almost £2m of grants to support urgent repair work to 18 Grade I and II* listed places of worship across Norfolk.
Nationally, since 2002, almost £140 million of grants have been awarded for more than 1500 projects at Grade I and II* historic places of worship through the joint Repair Grants for Places of Worship scheme, which is the largest single source of funds to help congregations to care for historic churches, chapels, synagogues and other historic places of worship.
Some £1.924m of grants in Norfolk include St Nicholas in Great Yarmouth (pictured above), a grade II* listed church located within the medieval walled town, originally founded by Bishop Herbert de Losinga in 1101 in association with a Benedictine priory. The church tower is the focus of the grant of £184,000 which will go towards repairs to the four tower pinnacles and the parapets, as well as investigating vertical and horizontal cracking.
Other Norfolk grants include: St Mary Magdalene, Pulham Market £123,000, St Nicholas, Bracon Ash £47,000, St Mary, Martham £214,000, St Peter, Walpole £111,000, St Peter, Upwell £156,000, St John, Oxborough £157,000, All Saints, Croxton £103,000, St James, Ellingham £101,000, St Andrew, Holme Hale £65,000, Holy Trinity, Scoulton £113,000, St Michael, Braydeston £57,000, St Michael, Great Cressingham £75,000, St Nicholas, Potter Heigham £65,000, St Mary, Gayton Thorpe £113,000, St Peter, Swainthorpe £63,000, St Andrew, Metton £109,000 and St Peter, Little Ellingham £68,000.
Despite the challenging economic climate, HLF and English Heritage have been able to maintain the planned level of funding and support for places of worship in the current financial year. The Heritage Lottery Fund has provided an extra £9 million to maintain the £25 million value of the total grants budget for 2010–11.
HLF has also confirmed that it will continue its increased level of support in future years. This means that despite English Heritage having to withdraw most of its contribution for new awards from now on, the scheme can continue in its current form. There will be no reduction in expert advice English Heritage staff and local support officers give to congregations all over the East of England.
Greg Luton, Regional Director for English Heritage in the East of England, said: “Thanks to the generosity of the Heritage Lottery Fund, and ultimately therefore of Lottery players, our historic places of worship in direct need still have the vital safety net of the Repair Grants scheme.
“Without it, many brave but struggling congregations would be faced with watching their beloved churches and chapels falling into ruin. Instead, the combination of Heritage Lottery Fund money and English Heritage advice is seeing these wonderful buildings revived and restored and becoming ever more central to their communities as places of prayer and celebration and as a hub for local services.”
Carol Souter, East of England Director of HLF said: “Historic places of worship are one of our most treasured cultural assets. They occupy a unique position at the heart of communities up and down the country, and are a focus for so many civil and social activities in addition to their central purpose as a place for prayer and contemplation.
“Places of worship are one of the most instantly recognisable features of our cultural landscape, and they continue to inspire people to get involved with and learn about their shared history. This is at the very core of what the Heritage Lottery Fund wants to achieve and the reason we have substantially increased our investment to the programme.”