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Future of Caston church secured thanks to £250,000 in funding to repair thatched roof

Church wardens and members of the Caston church council at the Church of the Holy Cross. From left, Lois Gill, Pat Precious, verger Pam Frogbrook, Graham Penfold and Joy Fletcher. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Church wardens and members of the Caston church council at the Church of the Holy Cross. From left, Lois Gill, Pat Precious, verger Pam Frogbrook, Graham Penfold and Joy Fletcher. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

Archant

One of the last remaining thatched churches in Breckland has received £250,000 in funding to help secure its future.

Church wardens and members of the Caston church council inside the Church of the Holy Cross. From left, Lois Gill, Joy Fletcher, Pat Precious, verger Pam Frogbrook, and Graham Penfold. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY Church wardens and members of the Caston church council inside the Church of the Holy Cross. From left, Lois Gill, Joy Fletcher, Pat Precious, verger Pam Frogbrook, and Graham Penfold. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

An architectural survey found that the roof of Holy Cross Church, in the village of Caston, near Watton, was in desperate need of repair.

And the worsening condition of its thatched roof meant there was a risk that the Grade 1 listed building could suffer water damage.

But following a bid by the Caston Parochial Church Council (PCC), the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) stepped in to help.

As well as providing funding the roof’s re-thatching, the money will enable the church to have a mains water supply, a kitchenette and facilitate a range of community projects.

Graham Penfold, a churchwarden of the PCC, said: “We are absolutely delighted and thrilled to learn that the HLF has given us this amazing level of support.

“Our much loved thatched church is one of the main focuses within the village and as stewards, we are keen to leave the fabric in the best possible state for future generations to enjoy.

“Without this very generous funding, there was a very real and high risk of water damage to the interior which will now be prevented.”

Speaking about the new community projects, he said they will include thatching lessons involving children of CofE Caston School, the creation of the first children’s guide to the church and the design of a prayer centre.

The re-thatching, which will use Norfolk reed, is due to take place in 2018. Holy Cross Church is said to be one of two thatched churches remaining in Breckland.

It is built from flint with stone blocks, and the earliest mention of a church in the village is in a document from 1218.

The PCC initially received £29,500 in lottery funding, which enabled it to carry out a more extensive survey of the roof to detail costing and time scales.

A second bid, which was only recently approved, provided a further £220,500.

Robyn Llewellyn, head of HLF East of England said, “We’re delighted to be able to continue our support for the restoration of Holy Cross Church and help to secure this important local building for future generations.

• Do you know of a historic building in need of repair? Email luke.powell@archant.co.uk

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