Wells church gets funding to kickstart restoration
St. Nicholas Church, Wells-next-the-Sea has received initial support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to develop plans for the restoration of the church building and then to apply for a full National Lottery grant at a later date.
Development funding of £39,200 has been awarded by The National Lottery Heritage Fund to help Wells Parochial Church Council progress their plans for Well, Well, Wells! – the restoration project for St. Nicholas Church in the town.
The project aims to restore the building, which is on the Heritage England At Risk Register, and will also deliver innovative new activities and interpretation of the heritage of the building, churchyards, enabling the church to forge stronger links with the wider community.
The project plans to establish St Nicholas as a heritage learning hub in partnership with other providers across the town. The project will also deliver a new interpretative scheme linked to the successfully established scheme at Wells Maltings and the “Wonderful Wells” Town Trail, which uses the church as its hub but is also available at multiple outlets - including Wells Harbour.
As part of the project, a new wellbeing conservation area will be created within the churchyard, ‘hard hat’ days will be held, and training programmes for teachers, church volunteers and town guides will be delivered. People of all ages will be involved in the creation and delivery of activities, ensuring that heritage is better explained and interpreted, and that new skills and learning have been achieved.
St. Nicholas Church is seen by many as a focal point for the local community, used for church services, as well as many community, school, and concert groups. The church is a Grade II* building situated in the central Conservation Area of the town of Wells-next-the-Sea. Originally built in the13th century, with a large-scale restoration taking place around 1460, it was destroyed by a devastating fire in 1879. The only part to survive was the medieval tower and the main body of the church was re-built in 1883.
Commenting on the award, Revd. Brenda Stewart said “We’re delighted that we’ve received this support and would like to say a huge thanks to National Lottery players. St. Nicholas Church has always been such an important building in Wells-next-the-Sea and it’s great to know that we are a step closer to preserving it for future generations of local people and visitors to our town. We’re also very excited about the community projects that are being planned and developing our churchyard as a green lung for all.”
The image of St Nicholas Church above is courtesy of http://www.norfolkchurches.co.uk/
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