Knapton Church’s threatened medieval angels get initial blessing of Heritage Lottery Fund

Appeal to save Knapton Church's unique hammer beam angels roof. 
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY Appeal to save Knapton Church's unique hammer beam angels roof. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Wednesday, July 2, 2014
11:41 AM

Alleluias rang out when chiefs at a north Norfolk church learned they were a major step nearer to saving their glorious heavenly host of medieval carved angels.

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Appeal to save Knapton Church's unique hammer beam angels roof. 
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLYAppeal to save Knapton Church's unique hammer beam angels roof. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has given its initial blessing, and earmarked £206,000, to a project at Knapton Church, near North Walsham.

The grade one-listed church’s south nave roof leaks badly, threatening its stunning double hammer-beam roof which is decorated with 138 carved and painted angels, their wings outspread. There are also cracks in the 14th-century church tower.

The roof and its angels are listed among “100 Church Treasures” –precious national artworks identified as being at risk by ChurchCare, the cathedral and church buildings division of the Archbishops’ Council.

Knapton churchwarden Liz Winter said she had been “absolutely ecstatic” at news of HLF’s support, following a failed bid last year.

Appeal to save Knapton Church's unique hammer beam angels roof. 
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLYAppeal to save Knapton Church's unique hammer beam angels roof. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

“When I told everybody, applause rang out,” said Mrs Winter. “This is a wonderful opportunity to repair our church for future generations to enjoy.

“The roof of flying angels is unique in Europe and we are very proud and humbled to be custodians of this church and its wonderful architecture.”

The earmarked cash includes £24,600 to help the church carry out further investigations and other preparations over the next year to ensure it meets the criteria for the full HLF award.

Mrs Winter said, as well as further exploratory work in the roof and tower, preparations would include creating new guide books, a website and a children’s trail, produced with the help of Mundesley’s infant and junior schools.

The total cost of the project is £260,000 which would also cover the installation of a toilet and kitchenette in the church.

Knapton, which has a population of fewer than 300, has so far raised about £4,500 towards the work. Further fund-raisers are planned, including a “Rocking 
Bishop” concert on July 26 at 7.30pm with Rt Rev Jonathan Meyrick, the Bishop of Lynn and local ukulele players, The Ukes of Hazard.

For £8 tickets, including a glass of wine, phone 01263 722271 or 721723.

And on August 2 and 3 there will be a heritage weekend in the village on behalf of both the parish church and Knapton Methodist Church.

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