Funding of £800,000 to restore South East's historic churches

Outside view of St Marys Church, Long Crendon

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) is today announcing £800,000 of funding for the South East’s historic churches, securing the future of five places of worship that are in urgent need of repair.

The funding will allow vital repair works to these important buildings, help them provide better facilities and make the churches more suitable for wider community use.

Stuart McLeod, Head of HLF South East, said: “Places of worship are among the UK’s most historic buildings, with fascinating stories behind them. This money will pay for urgent repairs, whilst also helping to tell the stories of these special places to visitors. As a result the buildings themselves will be more used by the whole community, and properly cared for into the future.”

HLF Grants for Places of Worship announced today include:

St Mary’s Church, Long Crendon
A grant of £136,800 has been awarded to the Grade I listed St Mary the Virgin Church in Long Crendon, Oxfordshire. The church dates back to at least the 13th century when it was thought to have been rebuilt by the Marshall Family. William Marshall the elder, Earl of Pembroke, was the Lord Manor of Long Crendon and a trusted intermediary of King John’s. His son, William Marshall the younger, was one of the 25 rebel barons who signed the Magna Carta at Runnymede in 1215. The grant will now enable a programme of urgent repairs to make the building secure. In addition, a new guidebook and website will be produced to showcase the church’s historical connections.

St George’s Church, Portsea
A grant of £158,000 has been awarded to the Grade II* listed St George’s Church in Portsea. Known as the ‘Shipwrights Church’, it was built in 1754 by shipwrights from the dockyard and was the first Anglican Church to serve the new town of Portsmouth. Without urgent repair works the church will be placed on English Heritage’s Heritage at Risk register. The grant will fund vital works to the church’s roof as well as a programme of education and training, helping local school pupils to learn more about its historical importance.

St Nicholas Church, Arundel
This Grade I listed church was built in the 14th century and is one of only a handful of examples of solely perpendicular churches in the country. Its adjacent Roman Catholic Fitzalan Chapel and Lady Chapel make it the only church in England that can be used by two separate congregations. A grant of £221,000 will pay for repairs to ensure the structural integrity of the building and open up currently inaccessible areas.

The Church of St Peter, Folkestone
This Grade II listed late Victorian building has important historic links with the development of ecclesiastical law. It is associated with the 'Folkestone Ritual Case', during which St Peter's curate was the first clergyman to be prosecuted under the Public Worship Regulation Act of 1874. It has been awarded £169,700 for a comprehensive scheme of repairs and renovation.

St Mary’s Church, Kirtlington
This Grade II* listed parish church dates from before the Norman Conquest of 1066 and has Anglo-Saxon, 13th, 14th and 15th century features. It has been awarded £132,600 for urgent works.

Notes to editors

Grants for Places of Worship scheme
Listed places of worship in the UK of all denominations and faiths are eligible for HLF grants which support urgent repairs to the fabric of the building with a focus on projects costing less than £250,000. There is a two stage application process with development funding available at stage one to help work up proposals.

Under the programme, applications can now be submitted for new capital works but these costs should cost no more than around 15 per cent of the total overall budget.

Funding for Places of Worship in England
Until 2010, The Repair Grants for Places of Worship in England Scheme was jointly funded by the HLF and English Heritage (EH). Since then, HLF had provided the majority of the funding whilst English Heritage had continued to administer the fund on behalf of both organisations. This scheme is now closed for new applications.

HLF’s new Grants for Places of Worship programme is funded and administered solely by the Heritage Lottery Fund with the exception of Scotland; however English Heritage will continue to provide expert advice in England.

Funding for Places of Worship in Scotland
As with the Repair Grants for Places of Worship programme, the new Grants for Places of Worship programme in Scotland is jointly funded by the HLF and Historic Scotland.

Funding for Places of Worship in Wales and Northern Ireland
As with the Repair Grants for Places of Worship programme, the new Grants for Places of Worship programme in both Wales and Northern Ireland is funded solely by the HLF.

Further information and images
HLF press office, Natasha Hughes or Tom Williams, tel: 020 7591 6143 / 6056