Vital funding boost for ‘urgent’ repairs to historic churches

St Mary's Church, Bungay, Suffolk. Picture: The Churches Conservation Trust

St Mary's Church, Bungay, Suffolk. Picture: The Churches Conservation Trust - Credit: Archant

Historic churches across Norfolk and Suffolk are celebrating after receiving a funding boost for vital repairs and conservation.

All Saints' Church, Ellough, Suffolk. Picture: The Churches Conservation Trust

All Saints' Church, Ellough, Suffolk. Picture: The Churches Conservation Trust - Credit: Archant

A total of six churches in the region will benefit from a share of more than £360,000 in funding as part of a £1.3m grant nationally.

The Churches Conservation Trust (CCT) is benefiting from a share of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help them through the coronavirus pandemic.

All Saints' Church, South Elmham. Picture: The Churches Conservation Trust

All Saints' Church, South Elmham. Picture: The Churches Conservation Trust - Credit: Archant

With 18 of the CCT churches nationally receiving a share of £1,345,049 grant funding for different repair and conservation projects, all projects will see high-level masonry repairs or re-roofing’s carried out.

A total of £157,872 has been granted for repairs at the Norfolk churches of St Mary’s in East Bradenham and St Augustine’s in central Norwich.

All Saints' Church, South Elmham. Picture: The Churches Conservation Trust

All Saints' Church, South Elmham. Picture: The Churches Conservation Trust - Credit: Archant


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High level masonry repairs are “urgently needed” at the medieval St Augustine’s Church in Norwich.

The project for the Grade I listed St Mary’s Church in East Bradenham consists of the reinstatement of lead covering to south aisle roofs as well as further repairs.

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A spokesman for the CCT said: “Following consecutive lead thefts in 2014 and 2015, St Mary’s is now in desperate need of a new roof covering.

“Due to lack of funding, for over six years the south aisle has been under temporary sheeting, which cannot longer ensure weather tightness.

“The repairs are of the utmost urgency because of the imminent risk of water ingress and further timber decay.”

In Suffolk, the landmark St Mary’s Church in Bungay, with its 15th century tower, is in need of “extensive, urgent masonry repairs,” according to the charity.

Receiving the largest award of £164,678 it will see extra work carried out on the tower and the former ruins of a Benedictine priory situated next to the church, meaning it will “continue to be an active and vibrant community building” in the heart of this historic market town.

The idyllic rural All Saints Church in South Elmham – complete with its distinctive Suffolk round tower – will receive £8,740.

A spokesman for the CCT said: “Structural investigations and repairs to masonry are needed to stabilise its ancient structure.”

The 14th Century Ellough All Saint’s Church in Suffolk, with its “elegant interior” has received a £15,640 grant that will ensure it is preserved by carrying out “urgent and essential repairs.”

‘Beautiful, historic buildings’

With the CCT charity protecting historic churches at risk, it cares for 356 grade I and grade II churches across England.

The breakdown of funding awarded by the Culture Recovery Fund, via the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Historic England, is:

St Mary’s Church, Bungay: £164,678

St Mary’s Church, East Bradenham: £118,864

St Augustine’s Church, Norwich: £39,008

All Saints Church, Ellough: £15,640

All Saints Church South Elmham: £8,740.

Kate Roma, CCT local community officer for Norfolk and Bungay, said: “The CCT’s work in Bungay is supported by local partners the Friends of St Mary’s (FOSM) Bungay.

“For many years they have run the church as a venue, utilising the churches facilities as a resource for the local community and thereby maintaining St Mary’s longstanding position at the heart of Bungay.

“The CCT and FOSM are working together to secure a sustainable future for the church and this grant goes a long way to ensure that the church will be enjoyed by future generations.”

Peter Aiers, chief executive of CCT, added: “We are extremely grateful to Historic England and the Government for this funding, which will allow us to undertake repairs and conservation at 18 of our most in-need historic churches.

“This award will help us to continue saving these beautiful historic buildings.”

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