Church severely damaged by fire will be rebuilt, says rector
- Credit: Chris Bishop
A historic Norfolk church that was severely destroyed by fire three years ago "will be rebuilt", its rector said.
St Mary’s Church in Wimbotsham, near Downham Market, was gutted by fire in September 2019, which destroyed the roof and interior of the medieval building including a holy table dating from 1638 and priceless carvings.
More than 50 firefighters tackled the blaze, saving the vestry and important church documents that were kept in a safe.
Following site investigations and discussions about its future use, work had begun in 2020 to move the restoration along but plans were brought to a halt due to the coronavirus.
A public meeting held weeks after the fire discussed possible plans to rebuild the church as a more modern and flexible community space.
And a 'rebuilding project' survey carried out by the Wimbotsham Parochial Church Council (PCC) revealed 'broad support' for rebuilding the church.
West Norfolk Priory Group, which is a group of 12 churches in west Norfolk including Wimbotsham, said out of the 770 questionnaires distributed to people who live in the parish or who used the church, 246 were returned.
It said responses highlighted concerns that the PCC’s plans need to be coordinated with those for updating the Village Hall following suggestions that the building could be used for a variety of community activities.
But it said the survey showed there was majority support for a 'multi-functional building' to be used by the church and the community.
The Revd Dr David Karoon said: "Wimbotsham will be rebuilt after it was found that this was the desire of the community from the survey.
- 1 Driver caught hitting speeds of 119mph on A47
- 2 Can you answer these 10 GCSE questions designed for 16-year-olds?
- 3 Homes destroyed after blaze breaks out in terraced housing
- 4 PICTURES: The best-dressed punters at Fakenham Ladies Day
- 5 Investigation closed after cash stolen from popular attraction
- 6 Fake chefs deliver out-of-date lasagne to Carrow Road ahead of Spurs clash
- 7 More cameras could be on way to fine law-breaking Norfolk motorists
- 8 City burger joint takes beef off the menu
- 9 Crash closes part of B1145 in west Norfolk
- 10 Key worker couple celebrate 'fairy tale' day after winning £32,000 wedding
"The PCC are presently in the process of appointing architects.
"These will be professionals who specialise in ancient architecture and church buildings.
"We are looking at firms who have experience in working with churches which have had a fire."
Rev Karoon said this process is likely to "take the rest of this year" and that the process is "slow" due to St Mary's being a listed building.
"Permission must be sought from various agencies," Rev Karoon added.
The church is still boarded up following the blaze in 2019.