Sale of the centuries for just £1

The traditional rush to find a post-Christmas bargain normally means buying cut-price clothes and household appliances. But nothing can beat the best offer in the seasonal end-of-year sales - the ruins of an 800-year-old Norfolk church for just a pound.

The traditional rush to find a post-Christmas bargain normally means buying cut-price clothes and household appliances.

But nothing can beat the best offer in the seasonal end-of-year sales - the ruins of an 800-year-old Norfolk church for just a pound.

The Church of England has said it will sell off St Margaret's Church, Hopton, near Yarmouth, for a quid - but with the provision that about £300,000 may be needed to make the historic site accessible to the public once more.

Hopton Parish Council has said it is interested in taking on the church, which started to be built in 1189, and turn part of it in to a community centre and heritage area or even to be used in part for holiday homes.


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The fenced-off ruins were offered to Yarmouth Borough Council for a pound but it turned down the offer because it did not want to be burdened with future mainten-ance and liability costs.

Brian Howard, who has campaigned to prevent the ruins being destroyed by vandals and the weather, says it is vital that the site is preserved because it has links going all the way back to 900s, when monks resided there in Anglo-Saxon times. He said: “The church must be saved because it is a vital part of Hopton's history and could provide an oasis of peace and quiet reflection for many years to come.”

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Parts of the church were built from materials from the church in the village of Newton, which toppled into the sea in about 1350.

The parish council hopes to secure about £300,000 from the National Lottery and English Heritage to fund the stabilising of the ruins so they can be made open to the public. Yarmouth Borough Council says it will support the scheme.

Lenny Gent, parish councillor in charge of assessing the ruin plan, said: “St Margaret's has always been the focal point of Hopton and I hope it can remain so for many years to come.”

The parish council is now reviewing a business plan created by Mr Howard and looking at insurance quotes to see if opening up the ruins would be economically feasible.

It has been suggested that holiday homes could be built in part of the ruins to help generate funds to maintain the area.

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