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Replacing historic church roof gets £100k lottery funding

PUBLISHED: 14:36 13 March 2019 | UPDATED: 15:00 13 March 2019

Lottery funding has been awarded to replace the thatch roof of All Saints Church in Old Buckenham and undertake heritage projects to engage young people with its history. Picture: Archant Library

Lottery funding has been awarded to replace the thatch roof of All Saints Church in Old Buckenham and undertake heritage projects to engage young people with its history. Picture: Archant Library

Archant

A project to repair and thatch the roof of a historic Norfolk village church and celebrate its history has been awarded almost £100,000 in lottery funding.

Work replacing part of the thatched Chancel roof of All Saints Church in Old Buckenham. Lottery funding will now enable work on the nave roof. Picture: Ron BrewerWork replacing part of the thatched Chancel roof of All Saints Church in Old Buckenham. Lottery funding will now enable work on the nave roof. Picture: Ron Brewer

The decayed thatched roof on the nave of All Saints Church in Old Buckenham will be thatched ensuring the building is conserved for future generations.

While the grant of £95,700 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund towards its Raise the Roof heritage project will also enable a range of activities designed to engage the local community with the heritage of the church, its history and its role in the life of the village.

Old Buckenham Parochial Church Council (PCC), chaired by Rev Canon Stephen Wright, the priest in charge, is responsible for the management and was told four years ago that the existing thatched roof was in a very poor state and needed total replacement.

Canon Steve Wright, the priest in charge of the Quidenham group of parishes in South Norfolk, including All Saints Church in Old Buckenham. Picture: Antony KellyCanon Steve Wright, the priest in charge of the Quidenham group of parishes in South Norfolk, including All Saints Church in Old Buckenham. Picture: Antony Kelly

The village’s ‘Raise the Roof’ project began in 2016 and after two years of local fundraising enough raised to replace the thatch on the chancel roof.

PCC spokeswoman Alison Hannah said the lottery funding would enable the project to be completed though reroofing work is unlikely to start until early 2020.

She said: “We funded the chancel roof through local fundraising and donations and that was completed just before Christmas so the lottery bid was a whole new project to do the same thing but to the nave roof which is obviously a much bigger undertaking.

Work replacing part of the thatched Chancel roof of All Saints Church in Old Buckenham. Lottery funding will now enable work on the nave roof. Picture: Ron BrewerWork replacing part of the thatched Chancel roof of All Saints Church in Old Buckenham. Lottery funding will now enable work on the nave roof. Picture: Ron Brewer

“We realised there was no way we were going to be able to raise the money for that locally so we are absolutely delighted that the lottery bid has been successful.”

Funding will also be used for a heritage project starting this spring with planned activities including children from Old Buckenham Primary contribute to the production of a ‘heritage and nature trail’ leaflet and will be using the churchyard for outdoor activities as part of their ‘forest school’- based learning.

Pupils from Chapel Green School will be undertaking a project to develop a sensory trail leaflet to help people with special needs access the building’s features and learn about their use.

Work replacing part of the thatched Chancel roof of All Saints Church in Old Buckenham. Lottery funding will now enable work on the nave roof. Picture: Ron BrewerWork replacing part of the thatched Chancel roof of All Saints Church in Old Buckenham. Lottery funding will now enable work on the nave roof. Picture: Ron Brewer

Alison Hannah said: “We know how much All Saints Church means to the village and it’s great to know that we can bring a new generation along with us as we protect the building’s future for another 50 years at least.”

The history of All Saints Church reaches back over 1,000 years. The Grade 1 listed building has been assessed by Historic England as ‘at risk’ because of the state of the roof.

As well as having an active congregation at weekly services of worship it is used by the schools for special services and for occasional events such as concerts throughout the year. The church is open during daylight hours every day for visitors.

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