Major grants to five round tower churches

Five round tower churches have shared in the latest round of repair grants by the Norfolk Churches Trust.

It has awarded £65,325 shared between 16 churches across the county including £10,000 to St Peter’s, Merton, near Watton.

The other churches receiving a total of £8,500 were St Edmund, Acle; St Andrew, Wickmere; St Mary, Haddiscoe and St Andrew, Great Ryburgh.

The grants to round tower churches included £3,000 to St Edmund, pictured by Tony Walsh in 2019, towards re-thatching the north side of the nave and the ridge.

A contribution of £2,500 was made to the repair and replacement of the central east window at St Andrew’s, Wickmere. This panel had to be removed last winter because it had become unsafe.

St Mary, Haddiscoe, was awarded £2,000 to repair lead sheeting on the south side of the nave roof, where slippage has taken place and allowed water ingress. The Society also made a £1,000 grant in March.

And £1,000 was given by the Trust to St Andrew’s, Great Ryburgh, to re-lead and repair the westernmost south chancel window, a William Wailes window dated 1870. It is one of the 12 remaining windows in the church commissioned by the Tatham family between 1866 and 1883.

The Norfolk Churches Trust has given a total of £10,000 to St Peter’s as it faced an unexpected bill of more than £17,000 for replacing rotting roof timbers.

The church had received about £100,000 last year from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for a zinc roof and to create a centre for heritage activities and to welcome visitors. This work on the nave roof started in late October but as it was nearing completion in mid-January, unexpected major problems came to light. An urgent appeal was made and the Society’s committee, which met in early March 2020, approved an immediate grant of £4,000 (with half from the Stan Barnes legacy) and the Norfolk Churches Trust contributed a total of £10,000. Even more fortunately, the Paul Bassam Trust added £2,0000.

St Peter’s, which was the victim of a major lead theft in 2015, sustained a further theft of lead from the south aisle – hence the decision to replace with zinc. All the work has now been completed although removal of scaffolding has been delayed because of the on-going Covid-19 crisis.

Michael Sayer, chairman of the NCT’s grants’ committee, has confirmed grants of £65,325 to 16 churches. When the quarterly council meeting in March was cancelled because of the Covid-19 epidemic, his committee’s proposals were reviewed by members of the advisory council and agreed.

Three awards, each of £8,000, have been made to St Andrew, Wellingham, near Fakenham; All Saints at South Lynn and All Saints, Wretton, near Downham Market.

Other major awards –

£7,000 – St Mary, Tittleshall, near Fakenham, for replacement flooring in the south side of the nave.

£5,000 – St Peter & St Paul, Brockdish, for repairs to stained glass windows and re-plaster and lime wash chancel.

£4,000 – St Mary, Hickling, for repairs to guttering, roof slates and windows.

£1,875 – All Saints, Helhoughton, near Fakenham, for survey and report into widespread cracking and damp in nave and chancel walls.

£1,500 – All Saints, Hethel, near Wymondham, to remove plaster on south wall of chancel and to remove hard external render.

£1,000 – St Mary, East Rudham, to repair the south-west roof.

£750 – All Saints, Tacolneston to repair roof following lead theft.