Financial boost to protect historic churches

The medieval wall paintings in All Saints' Church in Crostwight.

The medieval wall paintings in All Saints' Church in Crostwight. - Credit: Antony Kelly

An urgent rescue project to prevent the loss of 14th century wall paintings was among the latest grants made by the Norfolk Churches Trust.

All Saints, Crostwight, near North Walsham, was awarded £10,000 to stabilise the walls of the remote church.

At the trust’s spring council meeting, £67,000 was given to a dozen churches across Norfolk.

Crostwight has a remarkable series of nine wall paintings depicting The Passion, which details the entry of Christ into Jerusalem, the Last Supper and The Crucifixion.

Michael Sayer, chairman of the trust’s grants’ committee, said that the wall paintings were in great danger of being lost unless the walls of the church were stabilised. This phase of the rescue operation is set to cost more than £52,000.

Another £10,000 award was made to St Andrew, Saxthorpe, which needs to raise about £92,000 to re-roof the south aisle roof and also to restore peal boards dating from Queen Anne’s reign in the early 18th century.

In north Norfolk, a £7,000 grant was made to St Mary, Wiveton, following the dramatic collapse of a substantial chancel roof timber in August 2019. In total, the church faces a repair and restoration bill of almost £130,000.

St Mary's Church in Wiveton.

St Mary's Church in Wiveton. - Credit: Colin Finch

Most Read

A north Norwich church, St Catherine, Mile Cross, was given £7,000 towards the £35,000 cost of repairing the nave and both aisle roofs. The church is an important centre for worship in the north of the city and a focus for the community.

In west Norfolk, the church of St John, Terrington St John, was awarded £5,000 towards the refurbishment of the north slope of the nave roof. The work of re-slating the aisle roof was “very, very urgent.”

As further problems had been identified since repair work started in January at St Mary, Great Snoring, a further £3,000 grant was agreed. Almost three years ago, urgent tower repairs were recommended, which was now being carried out. However, the belfry and silence chamber in the tower needed additional work.

St Mary's Church in Great Snoring.

St Mary's Church in Great Snoring. - Credit: Chris Bishop

St John the Baptist, Alderford, near Reepham, receives £7,000 for another programme of urgent repairs, in particular to the porch and vestry roofs and to the south chancel and nave buttresses. Although the church has just received emergency covid-19 funding from Heritage England of some £21,000, it faced a deficit of almost £9,000 to complete the necessary repairs.

David Missen, treasurer, said that the record proceeds of last September’s Big Bike Ride of more than £174,000 had made it possible to fund the awards. At last year’s spring council meeting, the trust awarded £54,325.

Other awards included:

Caister-on-Sea, Holy Trinity £5,000

Carleton Rode Baptist Church £3,000

Great Walsingham, St Peter £3,000

Heacham, St Mary £4,000

Kelling, St Mary £3,000