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Huw Edwards announces church funding boost

by Michael Ford last modified 18 Sep, 2020 10:13 PM

Maintaining the fabric of our listed buildings, for practical reasons and as a witness to the work of God in transforming communities, is ongoing across our Diocese. Securing external funding is achieved in a number of ways.

Thankfully, one of our Wiltshire churches is to share in a £507,000 funding payout from the National Churches Trust.

A £30,000 National Churches Trust Cornerstone Grant will help fund roof and masonry repairs at the Grade I listed St Mary and St Melor church, Amesbury, making the church watertight and preserving its historic fabric.

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 support 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 Mary and St Melor church is being helped with a £30,000 National Churches Trust Cornerstone Grant. The work on the roof and masonry repairs will help secure the future of this historic building, which is of national significance.”

St Mary and St Melor church, Amesbury is Grade I listed and dates back to 979 AD, but the building we see today dates from the 12th century, including the original structure of the Nave. In the 15th century a new nave roof was added during a major re-building of the church.

Huw Edwards announces church funding boost- St Mary & St Melor interior

The church was a former Abbey. Queen Eleanor of Provence was a nun here from the death of her husband Henry III and is likely to have been buried on the site. The west end of the Nave was reconstructed in the 15th Century at the same time as the roof, but the present elevation can be attributed to William Butterfield’s major ‘restoration’ in 1852-3.

Work by the Open University shows that the history of the town dates back over 8,000 years, making Amesbury the oldest continuously occupied place in Britain.

Fr Darren A’Court, Priest-in-Charge at St Mary and St Melor said:

“I am thankful and delighted that the National Churches Trust has been able to help us with a generous grant towards the overall cost of our roof repair project.”

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.

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