Repair Grants for Places of Worship – Repairing St. Martin’s Medieval Church
In September 2009 St Martin’s Church submitted an application to the Repair Grants for Places of Worship in England scheme for funds to help restore the medieval church. The scheme is jointly funded by English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund. In December that year we found out our application had been successful. English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund had agreed to help fund repairs to the tower including the stonework, the roof and timbers as well as replacing the damp damaged internal plaster and the corroded and condemned electrics. The award from English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund comes in two stages; the Development Stage followed by the Repair Stage.
Development Stage Grant
This allows the church to carry out thorough investigations into the full extent and the exact cost of the repairs needed. The cost of the Development Stage work is £23,589 English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund will contribute £18,000 towards this, we can re-claim £3,461 in VAT from the Listed Places of Worship grant scheme but St Martin’s must contribute £2,128 from our own funds. In March a Structural Engineer and our Architect Bruce Bradley used a cherry picker to investigate the state of the tower stonework and begin removal of the silver birch tree. A bat survey was carried out on the tower and a timber specialist also visited to report on the condition of the tower timbers and exactly what needed to be replaced. The Church Maintenance Party (CHUMPS), made up of members of the church and the local community, cleared the blocked drains prior to a specialist company investigating whether the Victorian drainage system was still working effectively. The Geological Survey has also reported on the types of stone used in the construction of the church so that the same or similar stone can be used in the repair stage. Most recently a stonemason has removed the badly damp damaged plaster in the Nave and Chancel, revealing the medieval stone beneath.
Repair Stage Grant
At present the estimated cost of repairs is £114,687, which will pay for new tower timbers and stonework, removal of the tree as well as new plaster and electrics within the church. English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund have offered an ‘in-principle’ grant of £89,000, with a possible £17,081 coming from the Listed Places of Worship Grant scheme in the form of reclaimed VAT. This leaves a shortfall of £8,606, the Nottinghamshire Historic Churches Trust have offered an ‘in-principle’ grant of £2,000 towards this and we have a number of outstanding applications to other Charitable Trusts.
If You Would Like to Help
St Martin’s has stood as a landmark and played a role in the lives of the people of this Parish for over 600 years. Any help you could give to this restoration project in terms of help with on-going maintenance or a financial donation would be greatly appreciated. Please speak with our Priest or a member of the congregation if you would like more information, visit our website www.stmartinsbilborough.org.uk or join us at one of our services.