Record grants of £36,500 paid to round tower churches last year

A record amount of £36,500 has been paid to about a dozen churches for repairs and conservation work in the past year.

Nick Wiggin, grants’ officer, said that at last year’s annual meeting only a handful of grants had been paid as the pandemic had prevented most repair work being carried out. “This year I am pleased to say that several projects have got underway. We have paid what must be a record sum of grants in one year.

Repair and re-leading of windows has featured on five applications in the year to March 2023. “We are lucky to have a specialist, Devlin Plummer, with expert craftsmen based in south Norfolk.”

Mr Wiggin said that Broomfield’s tower and spire restoration looked to be on course until the old shingles were removed. This had exposed serious problems in the spire framework and the work had to stop. “Luckily with new scaffolding and extra funding including £5,000 from the Society, repairs have re-started and should be completed this summer.

“The congregation are very active in raising funds and held a wonderful display of photographs and paintings by Rosemary Rutherford, who made much of the church’s stained-glass windows and the fresco in the tower.,” he added.

“Our Suffolk churches receive a lot of support from the Suffolk Historic Churches Trust, which like us, is celebrating its golden jubilee.

This year the trust gave Suffolk churches, chapels and meeting houses grants totalling £317,000 including special jubilee grants of £152,000. Some round tower churches did benefit too.

“Our churches need charities more than ever,” he added.

Grant details, paid in year to March 2023

Mutford £7,000 – tower repairs.
Topcroft £1,000 – Renewed wood platform below benches.
Brome £500 – Repair ceiling plaster. Broomfield £5,000 – Tower and spire repairs.
Great Ryburgh £1,000 – Stained glass window refurbishment
Long Stratton £4,000 – Replace stolen lead from vestry extension roof, other roof and window repairs.
Beachamwell £3,000 – Replace tower roof after fire.
Threxton £2,000 – Repairs to stonework, bell frame and re-lead window.
Forncett £3,000 – Contribution to development phase of major chancel repair programme. Geldeston £5,000 – Re-lead window, repair leaking roof and other rainwater goods. Tasburgh £5,000 – Deal with cracks in nave wall, repair vestry roof and window tracery.
Total £36,500