The Norfolk and Norwich Christian community website

Legacies boost for Norfolk's historic churches 

A six-figure boost from legacies has helped to fund conservation of Norfolk’s historic churches and chapels, reports Michael Pollitt.

Retiring chairman Ian Lonsdale of the Norfolk Churches Trust said that more than £166,000 – an increase of £106,000 on the previous year - had been left by wills.

The trust was receiving more requests for financial help particularly as funding from the Heritage Lottery Funds has been reduced.

He told 40 members at the 42nd annual meeting at St Margaret’s Church, Fleggburgh, of the “astonishing” fund-raising efforts last year. A total of £228,019 had been raised from events including last September’s annual Bike Ride, which made almost £100,000 for 300 churches and chapels.

“This is a fantastic result and it was heartening to see amongst the total of 528 taking part, 2,683 recorded visits in total,” said Mr Lonsdale, who said that the latest Bike Ride took place on Saturday, September 8.

The Stately Home Car Boot at Sennowe Park, near Fakenham, made £88,500 – an increase from £52,000 three years ago. And an amazing £24,000 had been made, when two operas were staged at Holkham, thanks to Sarah, Lady Leicester.

The trust had given £50,000 to a county-wide scheme run by the Diocese of Norwich, and supported by the EDP, to fund alarms to prevent theft of lead from the roofs of Norfolk churches. He said this had prevented thefts from a number of churches but that some had lost lead because roof alarms had not yet been installed.

Mr Lonsdale, who stood down at the end of his three-year term, has been succeeded by Peter Sheppard, of Wolterton Hall, as chairman. Lady Egerton, Lady Fraser and Michael Sayer were re-elected to the board of trustees. The long-serving treasurer, Jonathan Ellis, formerly of chartered accountants Larking Gowen, has been succeeded by another former partner, David Missen.

During the year, a total of £191,614 was awarded to 44 churches. It also paid grants to 38 churches of £138,340 last year, said Mr Lonsdale.

It also spent £130,008 on its leased churches including funding for urgent repairs to All Saints, Snetterton. Here Heritage Lottery Funding, which provided the lion’s share, had been much appreciated. In north-west Norfolk, tower repairs at Barmer had been completed.

Membership continues to remain strong with 1,337 members paying more than £35,000.


Pictured above, Norfolk Churches Trust spent £130k on urgent repairs at All Saints, Snetterton. Picture courtesy of Norfolk Churches Trust.


To submit a story or to publicise an event please email: web@networknorwich.co.uk