A £10,000 National Churches Trust Cornerstone Grant will help fund the installation of kitchen and toilets at the Grade I listed St Catherine’s church, Ludham, enabling it to better serve its community.
Broadcaster and journalist Huw Edwards, Vice President of The National Churches Trust, said: “The UK’s historic churches and chapels are a vital part of our national heritage and have done so much to help local people during the COVID-19 lockdown. But to survive, many need to carry out urgent repairs and install modern facilities. The cost of this work is far beyond what most congregations can pay for themselves.
“So, I’m delighted that St Catherine’s church in Ludham is being helped with a £10,000 National Churches Trust Grant. This is a really special building with a magnificent rood screen. The installation of kitchen and toilets will help the church better serve its local community and help ensure the future of this historic church.”
A total of 59 churches and chapels in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will benefit from the latest grants from the National Churches Trust, the charity supporting the UK’s church buildings.
These are the second-round of grants made by the National Churches Trust in 2020. To date this year, the Trust has distributed 145 grants totaling over £1 million to churches and chapels around the UK.
St. Catherine’s church is a fine and large building standing in the very centre of its village, reflecting the former wealth of the population. It is built of flint with limestone dressings and consists of a 14th century Decorated style West tower and chancel and 15th century nave and aisles in a Perpendicular style. It replaced an older smaller and far less impressive chapel.
St Catherine’s has a number of special features. An unusual 15th century decorated octagonal stone font, featuring two ranks of figures below the bowl; a fine oak hammer beam roof dating from 1466 the chancel arch with its carved capitals of grotesques and seaweed foliage and a rare Royal arms of Elizabeth I.
More spectacular is one of the finest rood screens in Norfolk, dating to 1493 and thought likely to be unique in the Church of England. The Bishop of Norwich, as Abbot of the local St Benet’s Abbey, is also Rector of this parish, a most unusual situation for a Diocesan Bishop.
The grant will help to fund the installation of kitchen and toilets in the base of the tower.
Ken Grapes and Rita Gibson, church wardens at St Catherine’s said: “During recent years, the church council has concentrated on putting this ancient church into good structural order. This has been achieved, together with new lighting and heating and at last, we shall have modern lavatories and a kitchen – which will not only help the church to fulfil its living role as a place of worship, but also to take its place as a focus for the use and benefit of the vibrant local community of the village of Ludham.”