Church roof saved thanks to Lottery grant

St Leonard's Church in Flamstead has received a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

St Leonard's Church in Flamstead has received a grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. - Credit: St Leonard's Church

The long-awaited repair of a 900-year-old church's roof is finally set to go ahead following a grant from the National Lottery.

St Leonard’s in Flamstead will be closed until the summer while the nave roof is repaired and other major works carried out.

The National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded a new grant  of £642,500 to add to £92,000 they have already donated.

The Flamstead Heritage project was set up to save the 12th century village church from closure, and as well as carrying out these vital repairs sought to establish the church as a heritage venue where people of all ages will enjoy discovering the stories of those who have left their mark on it over 900 years.

The church can now afford to repair the failing medieval roof timbers and leaking stonework to make the building weatherproof.

Craftspeople skilled in woodwork, stone masonry and structural repair will combine their skills to ensure that the Grade I listed building retains as much of the original material as possible, while being made safe and secure for the coming centuries.

A spokesperson for Flamstead Heritage said: "After three years’ really hard work to develop our project proposals and raise over a quarter of a million pounds of matched funding, we are absolutely delighted that the National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded us a grant of up to £642,500 which will enable us to save St Leonard’s from closure and share its heritage with many more people."

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Villagers have already helped raised £285,000 of matched funding through a variety of activities including the annual Scarecrow Festival.

Some of this money will go towards a three-year project aimed at expanding the church's activities.

Schools will be able to participate in puppet, drama and storytelling projects; young people will help to design new web-based exploration experiences; ecology projects will re-use old organ pipes for bat and bird boxes; and history will be brought to life in talks and tours with optional cream teas.

Volunteers will be offered training in new skills like recording living memories, overseeing Duke of Edinburgh Award participation, doing a photographic survey of medieval graffiti, and hosting visitors – all as part of what will be a major community project.