The much loved medieval Church in the small Norfolk village of Clippesby, which is currently listed on the English Heritage ‘At Risk’ register, is in need of urgent work to the building. The Heritage Lottery Funding will address problems with water ingress and the current infrastructure’s inability to take water away from the church.
Overhanging trees, inadequate old cast iron guttering and a short waterspout on the tower as well as rising damp causing the font to act as a sort of wick, all mean that the building can never dry out thoroughly. In addition, slipped slates and various other roof defects including damaged tower roof and the damaged weather vane as well as dry rot in the vestry all need swift attention - as do the flints which need the cement render which was wrongly used on them to be replaced by proper mortar, so as to allow the walls to breathe.
Although much has already been achieved in recent years following energetic Parish fundraising work, including the installation of heating and improvements to drainage, much still needs to be done to preserve this stunning building. The happiness and gratitude this grant has brought is truly palpable.
As well as repairs, other key enhancements such as the introduction of a water supply and improvements to make the moveable nineteenth-century pews safer as well as increasing flexibility of the building’s internal space, will totally revitalise how the Church is perceived, used and appreciated. The grant will make it possible to build upon the already well-established programme of social and fundraising events, providing an excellent venue to facilitate and foster a real community spirit as well as assisting with tourism and heritage alike.
The hope is that there will be input and support from far and wide. There will be many opportunities for volunteers and everyone who would like to be involved will be welcomed. The church’s website will be developed to publish all events, both at the Church and elsewhere, such as coffee mornings, exhibitions of writings and pictures, choir activities, local walks and school events, to name but a few.
The wonderful little Church, described by English Heritage as a “very fine church dating from the C12 or possibly earlier, with much fabric of that period surviving” does indeed have many Saxon, Norman, Mediaeval and Victorian features including its deep splayed windows whose angled sills allow in light so beautifully. Its 19th century octagonal belfry, its 15th century font and 500 year old memorial brasses and gorgeous stained glass windows are just a few of its other many fine features and the grant will mean that these can go on being appreciated for years and years to come.
The Clippesby Parochial Church Council (PCC) and its two churchwardens, Jean Lindsay and Pamela Minett, are immensely heartened and encouraged by this generous grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund and they look forward with anticipation to meeting the challenges that lie ahead.
Jean Lindsay said, “The restoration and preservation of this much loved Church is acutely important as it is a beacon for the village and is part of its history and heritage. The thought of it having lasted all these years, only to fall into disrepair on our watch is utterly unacceptable, hence we are so thankful for the grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. I now have very high hopes about the Church’s future use for such things as entertainment, education and meetings as well as for its traditional purpose and the grant means that this generation can be proud, like so many have been before it, to play its part in preserving what was built with a great deal of love and care so many years ago. Its preservation means it can be prayed in and worshipped in for another thousand years and more, to the Glory of God.”
Robyn Llewellyn, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund East of England, said “We are delighted to support Clippesby PCC with this award of a first round pass enabling them to develop their application further. This is a really exciting opportunity that will address the urgent needs of the building, as well as making it more flexible as a community space.”
Summary of the repairs to the church
Work to include:
Fit new cast iron gutters and drainpipes
Install ground drainage
Install new gullies and rainwater drainage
Install new lead spouts to tower and new catchpits
Remove cement render to south wall and repoint
Replace copings on porch and tower
Repair chancel arch and parapets
Replace weather vane base and refurbish cock
Install water connection
Cut back trees too close to church.
Grant from The HLF (Heritage Lottery Fund) for Repairs to St. Peter's Church.
Last year we received a very generous grant from the HLF, which was the first stage - the Development Stage - of the Repair Project. This began with an Opening Up Day, when a group of various experts assembled to examine and report on the fabric of the church and assess exactly what needed to be done to make St. Peter's watertight and try to cure its damp problems. Photos of this are on the bottom of HLF Action page.
Before Christmas we received notification and congratulations from Robyn Llewellyn, the Head of Heritage Lottery Fund East of England. He wrote that, after assessing our application, the HLF have decided to award us a grant of up to £95,700. which is 72% of the eligible project cost of £132,658. This is wonderful news but as you can see it leaves us with £37,000. to raise.
The Work Needing to be Done:
Our repair project is to make the church watertight and to address the deterioration of the fabric of the church due to the damp conditions. To this end the rainwater disposal systems will be renewed with new gullies, catchpits, spouts and ground drains around the building. Repair work will be undertaken to the chancel and east end parapets and roof slates. Cement render wrongly used on the south wall will be removed and the wall repointed. In addition the base to the weathervane on the tower will be replaced.
Other Work to be Done:
A mains water connection should enable us to have a tiny kitchenette in the tower room, and new ends to the back pews will improve the appearance of the informal seating areas for events in the church.
The HLF requires us to improve our signage and information for visitors.
To help people to find the church there will be a direction sign on the B1152 opposite the Church Loke and also a new church sign. To improve visitors' appreciation of the heritage within St. Peter's we plan to produce new hand-held information boards and a small guide book as well as developing this church website.