Saving Knapton’s Angels

Author: Elizabeth Winter

Published on: 29 December 2017

This Medieval church with its unique painted Flying Angels and Double Hammer Beamed Roof has been repaired to allow future generations to appreciate its craftsmanship and beauty.

The restoration has been achieved with the help of the Heritage Lottery Fund without whose help and guidance this could not have taken place. Other major contributors were: The National Churches Trust, WREN, Norfolk Churches Trust, All Churches Trust, Garfield Weston, Peterhouse Cambridge, The Bishop of Norwich’s Fabric Fund, and Church Care on behalf of The Wolfson Foundation.

In August 2013, the first application for funding was made to the Heritage Lottery Fund. Unfortunately, this was rejected. A second application made in February 2014, was successful. The project was described as “Urgent high level structural repairs to the badly leaking roof of the nave and repairs to the fabric of the tower including the removal of asbestos from within the tower, and to associated gutters, down pipes and soakaways, to make the building weather proof. Plus, a new guide books and website. Also, the installation of a disabled toilet and kitchenette, giving the building a greater use for the community and visitors alike”.

Work began in November 2015 with the removal of the asbestos. The main project started in April 2016. The Tower had extensive repairs to the Stonework. Whilst this was progressing work began inside the church with the removal of the collection of grave covers from the west end of the nave. The conservator who oversaw the removal reported that “This is a remarkable collection of high status memorial sculptures dating to between c.1120-1250, unique as a group in Norfolk at least, and all pre-dating the present church at Knapton. As such there is no doubt that they are of exceptional regional as well as local cultural significance.” Due to the unique collection of covers it was decided by the Churches Building Council that they should not be covered by the Choir stalls as originally planned, a Faculty Variance was applied for and granted. This means that the grave covers are now on full display to visitors.

The disabled toilet and kitchenette have been installed. New guide books have been produced and a quiz sheet for children visiting the church., the churches new website is slowly taking shape and will give the church a fresh window for the world to see.

The cost of the latest repairs and improvements was over £370,000.

The author...

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Elizabeth Winter

Churchwarden, Knapton (Parish)

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