Flamstead Church secures over £600,000 from National Lottery Heritage Fund

Saving the church's priceless heritage

Friday, 3rd April 2020, 2:48 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd April 2020, 2:50 pm

A church in Flamstead has been awarded a grant of up to £642,500 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund to repair the 12th century parish church and save its priceless heritage.

The project will repair the failing medieval roof timbers and leaking stonework to make the building weatherproof, and put St Leonard's Church on the map as a heritage venue where people of all ages will enjoy discovering the stories of those who have left their mark on it over 900 years.

Thanks to National Lottery players, the £642,500 grant adds to the £92,000 already received to prepare detailed proposals for a three-year project, towards which the villagers have raised £285,000 of matched funding through a variety of activities and the support of other funds and trusts.

St Leonards sacristy and east window exterior. (C) TwoTalesCreative

Work will start immediately on planning for the project delivery, subject to restrictions imposed due to Covid-19.

Andrew Lambourne, who led the fundraising bid, said: “We are absolutely delighted that the National Lottery Heritage Fund has recognised the importance of this beautiful building and given us a chance to save and share it.

"Before this project started, I had no idea how extensively the National Lottery supports national heritage, and we are really grateful to Lottery players for making such funding possible.

"We’re going to get started with anything which can be done online and at home, so that the project is ready to roll once the current restrictions are lifted.”

St Leonards south and roof from drone (C) Graham Bray

Schools will be able to participate in puppet, drama and storytelling projects; young people will help to design new web-based exploration experiences; ecology projects will re-use old organ pipes for bat and bird boxes; and history will be brought to life in talks and tours with optional cream teas.

Volunteers will be offered training in new skills like recording living memories, overseeing Duke of Edinburgh Award participation, doing a photographic survey of medieval graffiti, and hosting visitors – all as part of what will be a major community project.

The church, built in Norman times at the behest of a standard-bearer who served William the Conqueror, commemorates people with strong links with the Earls of Warwick and the Elizabethan Court.

Most intriguing of all are the wall-paintings, spanning some 600 years and uncovered in the 1930s after being hidden beneath plaster since the reformation. A contemporary wall-hanging will recreate the central painting in full colour.

Visitors at St Leonards

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