£1.5m funding boost to fund urgent repairs at 31 historic churches

The Grade I listed St Mary Magdalene, Peckleton, dates from the 14th century and will receive a grant of £25,000 to fund urgent stone and roof repairs.(Photo: National Churches Trust)

Dozens of historic churches are to benefit from £1.5m in fresh funding towards urgent repairs. 

The funding has been awarded to the National Churches Trust by Historic England and will go towards repairs at 31 churches, all of them centuries old and listed.

The National Churches Trust said the funding boost would help to keep local churches open and in good repair. 

The money is being made available from the Heritage Stimulus Fund, part of the Culture Recovery Fund created by the government to safeguard the future of Britain's heritage sites after the pandemic. 

Huw Edwards, Vice-President of the National Churches Trust said: "Local churches, chapels and meeting houses are the beating heart of local communities.

"It's great news that grants for more churches and meeting houses identified by the National Churches Trust will now be made available with funding from the Culture Recovery Fund.

"This will help to protect heritage and keep churches open so that they can continue to support local people."

The largest of the grants will go to St Mary, Cogges, in Witney, Oxfordshire. It will receive £119,000 to cover the cost of urgent roof repairs, making the Grade I listed Anglo-Saxon church watertight.  

St Mary, Kyre Wyard, in Worcestershire, the oldest parts of which date back to Norman times, houses a 1578 edition of the Geneva Bible and will receive a fund of £19,000 to fund urgent repairs to its historic windows.

The investment is being made on top of £2m from the Culture Recovery Fund awarded to the National Churches Trust last October, which has gone towards urgent repairs at 15 churches across England. 

Claire Walker, CEO National Churches Trust said the latest funding was "incredibly good news". 

"Historic local places of worship are a vital part of our national heritage, but sadly, a shortage of available funding means that many are in a very poor state of repair and under threat of closure," she said. 

"The funding is a vote of confidence in the future of historic church buildings and a recognition of their importance to society."

Duncan Wilson, Historic England's Chief Executive, said: "Funding from the government's Culture Recovery Fund is hugely welcome at a time when the people and organisations who look after our vast and varied array of heritage urgently need support to carry out essential repairs.

"We are delighted that further historic sites and projects will benefit from this funding.

"It will add to the vital work of the Heritage Stimulus Fund in supporting irreplaceable heritage sites and places of worship across the country."