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St Leonard's Church to received £66,000 lottery grant
AN HISTORIC church in Stanton Fitzwarren has been awarded a £66,000 Lottery grant to pay for urgent repairs.
St Leonard’s Church, in Church Lane, is one of 11 listed churches in the South West to secure a share of more than £1m from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The grade I-listed church is of Norman origin, with 14th century and 17th century additions and 19th century restorations.
The grant was secured following an application from villagers, Dr Roger Hillman and Gill Chapman.
The cash will be used for masonry repairs to the church tower, which is in poor condition. It will also be used for the roof covering and rainwater chutes to the tower. The project will also involve preserving historic graffiti which will be incorporated into the new roof.
Tom Charnock, the chairman of Stanton Fitzwarren Parish Council, which supported the application, said: “It’s absolutely terrific. It’s been a niggling problem – at all the church meetings it’s been on the agenda.
“It’s been something they have been concerned about for probably four to five years and Roger and Gill had spotted this fund and opportunity and they have gone for it and they have been hugely successful, and it’s a fantastic credit to them both.
“The tower itself, it’s got a little peal of bells in there and they haven’t been able to use them as a sort of regular feature because of concerns about the actual structure of the tower itself.
“So these repairs are to resolve that problem, the structural stability of the tower, and one of the things they’ve identified is it’s actually the water ingress that’s been causing the problem and they’ve matched that back to the roofing.”
Gill said the project would cost more than £90,000 in total so the church council was in the process of identifying sources for the remaining cash, with the hope of the work starting in 2014.
The £66,000 comes from the Repair Grants for Places of Worship scheme, which is funded by Heritage Lottery Fund and administered by English Heritage.
She said: “It’s absolutely brilliant.
“It’s generous of English Heritage to do this because obviously we’re a small church and there are lots of abbeys and places that are well known that are in need of money as well, so we’re delighted.”
Veryan Heal, of English Heritage, said: “Listed places of worship make up an elemental part of the historic fabric of England. It is crucial they are cared for and repaired.”