Two churches receive £9,000 in latest repair grants

Two round tower churches in Norfolk and north Suffolk have been awarded £9,000 towards restoration costs of more than £110,000.

The Round Tower Churches Society has now given a total of £48,000 to help repair the fabric of a dozen churches with these latest grants.

At the March committee meeting, it was agreed to award £4,000 for repairs at Rickinghall Inferior, near Diss, and £5,000 to Geldeston, near Beccles.

Urgent roof repairs to the nave and chancel at St Michael and all Angels, Geldeston, will cost almost £60,000. The tower roof and parapet need repairs and slates have fallen from the nave and chancel.

In addition, extensive work to windows and glasses are a further priority, which will cost in the region of £25,000. The north transept window was in a particular bad state of repair, according to specialist glazier Terry Devlin, of Devlin Plummer Stained Glass, of Great Moulton, near Norwich.

At the society’s latest committee meeting, it was agreed to contribute £5,000 towards the repair cost. New rainwater goods, pointing and rendering of several sections of the walls including the tower are needed. In addition, the glazing element of the work, which is estimated to cost £21,760 including re-leading of several windows with severe buckling, is needed.

A £4,000 grant was also made to St Mary’s, Rickinghall Inferior, near Diss, which needs to raise more than £51,000 to re-tile the north side of the chancel roof and carry out other repairs. It is planned to start the work in September this year.

The Society’s last grant to the church was in 2008 when £200 was awarded.

Rickinghall has also received £14,250 in grants including £7,000 from Suffolk Historic Churches Trust, £2,000 from the parish council.  With the latest grants including £2,500 from the Alfred William Charitable Trust, £2,000 from the Ganzoni Charitable Trust and £750 from the Scarfe Trust, it still has a shortfall of more than £10,000.

The Society has given previous grants of a total of £3,200 over an eight-year period to 2011.

Earlier this year, the Society gave a £5,000 grant to Higham, near Bury St Edmunds, which faces costs of more than £100,000 to repair its tower and spire.

The Round Tower Churches Society has now awarded a total of more than £300,000 in grants since it was founded in 1973. Membership subscriptions and legacies are the main source of income for the charity, which aims to conserve the country’s 181 distinctive round tower churches.