School children involved in Church graffiti
With leaking roofs, rusting downpipes and gutters with large holes, St. John the Baptist Parish Church was urgently in need of repair.
In late 2013 a few villagers formed an action team to assist Diana Burroughes, Churchwarden/treasurer (who had sole responsibility for the day-to-day running of the church!) to seek funding to protect this large, imposing, Grade I Listed medieval building and help preserve its fine heritage.
The first stage was understanding which building repairs to prioritise: thanks to Ken Grapes (a Diocesan Church Buildings Ambassador) a replacement Quinquennial report was commissioned and St John the Baptist PCC appointed a new architect, Nicholas Warns. The team recognised that the Heritage Lottery Fund was the best source for grants and hence it was essential to understand HLF’s requirements, best summarised as ensuring there were positive ‘outcomes’ that showed improvements both to the building and to its heritage.
In terms of building repair outcomes, that was best left to the experts: our architect and Historic England prioritised which works could be achieved for the £250,000 maximum award by HLF. Making the building watertight was the key priority: the nave and south aisle roofs were to be re-laid (with minor roof repairs on the tower and north aisle) and all the rainwater goods replaced. The second component, the heritage project, was generated by me, Linda Holly as I have a background in history research: a new history group was to be the fulcrum for delivering heritage activities. A landscape history walk inaugurated the group, and training sessions at Norfolk Archives and the Norfolk Historic Environment Record gave attendees the skills to ‘do’ history. Primary school children were engaged by taking part in church graffiti workshops; and a report on the pre-Reformation bench ends was commissioned, leading to a booklet written by the history group. The heritage activities project culminated in a ‘Medieval Weekend’ at the church led by a group of professional history interpreters, De Mowbrays.
Best tip: make the heritage activities appealing to a broader, more diverse demographic than would normally visit. It probably helps if the activities appear thought through and not simply a ‘tick box’ exercise. Do draw upon the interests and skills of the team and focus on features special to the church – i.e. Bressingham Church’s magnificent carved bench ends.
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Articles in this issue...
Twinkling bright in Sheringham
I’m now in my tenth year of ministry in Sheringham and it was soon after my arrival that I thought a Christmas Tree Festival would look wonderful in the light, wide-open spaces of St Peter’s Church.More
Orienteering and the Nativity
To mark the season of Advent, Victory Villages and St Mary’s Church, North Elmham last year had a nativity trail.More
Classic return of the tea towel!
The Advent and Christmas period in Cawston is a very lively time for the church.More
Provisions for the local community
In October 2017 I received a phone call from the Heritage Lottery informing me that our application for urgent repairs and a heritage project focussing on some of the church’s key features had been successful.More
Food safety law & church activities – a brief guide
Food provided by churches is subject to food law and must be safe to eat.More
Welcome to ‘OUR’ parish
St Mary’s Church likes to give a Welcome Bag to new people moving into the parish of Watton, as a means of introducing the Church and its activities, enclosing other items to welcome the new residents to the community.More
Serious about entertaining
The process starts with a visit to your local council office to register your interest, obtain the necessary forms but most importantly seek their help and advice!More
No bullrushes, but a catwalk and basket!
Recently I was asked to swap the aisle for the catwalk, I can assure you it was all in a good cause.More
Licensing law & church activities – a brief guide
The Licensing Act 2003 may affect some church events, regulating entertainment and the sale of alcohol. Fortunately, it makes exceptions for some occasional activities.More
A welcome addition at our event
Having a ‘Temporary Events Notice’ (TENs) allows you to legally sell alcohol on your premises ie church hall/rooms. Without a TENs you cannot sell alcohol, only give it away!More