National Lottery Heritage Fund grant to help restore 12th century Flamstead church
PUBLISHED: 06:59 22 April 2020
A 12th century parish church in Flamstead has received a grant of up to £642,500 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to help make vital repairs.
St Leonard’s Church in High Street received the grant to repair falling medieval roof timbers and leaking stonework – making the building weatherproof.
The grant adds to the £92,000 the church has already received, which will go towards details proposals for the three-year project. Flamstead villagers have also raised £285,000 of matched funding for the project.
Work will start immediately on planning for the project delivery, subject to any restrictions imposed due to coronavirus.
Once the church is repaired, local schools will be able to visit and participate in puppet, drama and storytelling projects, old organ pipes will be reused for bat and bird boxes, and the church’s 900-year history will be brought to life in talks and tours with optional cream teas.
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Volunteers will also be offered training in new skills such as recording ‘living memories’, overseeing Duke of Edinburgh Award participation, doing a photographic survey of medieval graffiti and hosting visitors.
Flamstead resident Andrew Lambourne, who led the fundraising bid, said: “We are absolutely delighted that the National Lottery Heritage Fund has recognised the importance of this beautiful building and given us a chance to save and share it.
“Before this project started, I had no idea how extensively the National Lottery supports national heritage, and we are really grateful to lottery players for making such funding possible.
“We’re going to get started with anything which can be done online and at home, so that the project is ready to roll once the current restrictions are lifted.”
St Leonard’s Church was built in Norman times at the behest of a standard-bearer who served William the Conquerer, and has strong links with the Earls of Warwick and the Elizabeth Court. The pillars bear Tudor inscriptions to those buried beneath pews, and its monuments tell of rich and powerful families in the area.
The church’s wall paintings were uncovered in the 1930s after being hidden behind plaster since the Reformation, and span some 600 years of history. After the repairs, a contemporary wall hanging will recreate the central painting in full colour.
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