Knapton villagers raising the roof to save historic church angels

Appeal to save Knapton Church's unique hammer beam angels roof. Right, churchwarden Liz Winter with

Appeal to save Knapton Church's unique hammer beam angels roof. Right, churchwarden Liz Winter with local history researchers Richard and June Wild. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A north Norfolk village has launched an appeal to save the iconic wooden angels which flutter in the beams of its parish church – as water threatens to ruin their delicate design.

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 - Credit: Archant

Villagers in Knapton have planned a major fundraising fortnight to kick-start their Raise the Roof campaign, which aims to preserve the distinctive wooden roof of St Peter and St Paul's Church.

The imposing medieval double hammer beamed angel roof was built in 1503 and is unique to Europe. Spanning 12 metres, it features more than 100 ornately carved angels and its distinctive design brings visitors flocking to the village to gaze at the craftsmanship.

But it is under threat of water damage after the outer roof, which encases the wooden beams, tore and began letting in rain.

Emergency repairs were carried out, but the village has now launched its £100,000 appeal to completely replace the outer roof.


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Church warden Elizabeth Winter said: 'It lets the water in and it's already got to the wood, at one point we had puddles on the floor. Luckily the water ingress was picked up quickly so everything was dried out with no damage but the roof must get repaired soon.

'The roof is just so special, everybody knows about Knapton's angels. It's an incredible sight, you can just look up and be mesmerised by all the angels.'

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As well as bringing people into Knapton, the angels are also a source of tourism for the wider area.

'When people are going round the historic churches they go to Paston (home to the famous letters) and then to us or vice versa,' Mrs Winter added. 'When it comes down to it this appeal is protecting the history of our national heritage.'

She has already applied to the National Heritage Lottery for a grant and she and fellow campaigners have now organised a fortnight of events to get the fundraising ball rolling.

The church will be open on July 27-28, when it will host displays of art, historic photographs and flowers. On the Sunday from 1.30pm - 4pm visitors will also be able to go up the tower to the bell ringing chamber with the opportunity to have a go themselves.

Next door, the methodist church will be holding a raffle and serving refreshments, while on the Saturday the village hall will host a table-top sale.

The weekend will be followed by a 60s concert on August 10, which looks set to be a sell-out.

Tickets for the concert, featuring live music from the Nigel King Band, are available from Mundesley Flower Shop or by calling Mrs Winter on 01263 722271.

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