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 Porch roof - deeply eroded joints and voids in the flint upstand. Photo: R Blackman

St Peter’s Church, Forncett St Peter, has received a much needed financial boost from the government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help fund specialist investigations during the corona virus pandemic.

The £24,000 grant will allow essential surveying and investigative work to determine the causes and extent of water penetration and cracking of flint and stonework which critically threaten this 1000 year old, Grade 1 listed building. Last February a large area of plaster fell from the wall so this grant comes just in time. St Peter’s will be able to commission the many specialists needed to draw up specifications for competitive tenders for the essential repair work. Is there a hidden wall painting at St Peter’s as reports from a Victorian restoration would suggest? The fallen plaster and funds for investigation will also help answer this question.

Lifeline grants from the Culture Recovery Fund are designed to protect heritage sites and ensure that jobs and access to culture and heritage in local communities are protected during the months ahead. St Peter’s, with it’s thousand year old round tower, considered one of the best in the country, is immensely grateful for this crucial support.

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said: “These grants will help the places that have shaped our skylines for hundreds of years and that continue to define culture in our towns and cities. We’re protecting heritage and culture in every corner of the country to save jobs and ensure it's there for future generations to enjoy.”

Grants of up to £25,000 are being allocated to cherished heritage sites, like St. Peter’s, across the country to cover urgently needed maintenance and repairs. This vital funding comes from a part of the Culture Recovery Fund called the Heritage Stimulus Fund and is administered on behalf of the government by Historic England. As well as rescuing precious heritage buildings in need, the injection of cash will protect livelihoods for some of the most vulnerable heritage specialists and contractors working in the sector.


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Areas with a risk of falling masonry and emergency drainage are cordonned off. Photo: A Rae

 This is a vital step in St Peter’s massive fund raising project organised by the Friends of St Peter’s Forncett, for over £750,000 needed for repairs to roofs, walls, floors and rare monuments. Updating community facilities – currently a portaloo in the churchyard, a kettle in the vestry and an antiquated heating system which means the church is too cold to use during the winter – is a priority so that St Peter’s can become a thriving community centre for everyone, alongside it’s active spiritual life. Grants from Norfolk Churches Trust and The Headley Trust are already helping and an application will be made to the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Community support has been amazing, raising nearly £10,000 despite Covid meaning it has not been possible to hold any events.

Reverend Lydia Avery, Priest in Charge of St Peter’s Church, said, “This generous funding from the Culture Recovery Fund, will make a huge difference to the restoration of St Peter’s Church and gives hope to our community for its planned future as a vibrant church and community hub.”

Duncan Wilson, Historic England Chief Executive said: “Historic places across the country are being supported by the Government’s grants awarded under the Culture Recovery Fund. This funding is a lifeline which is kick-starting essential repairs and maintenance at many of our most precious historic sites, so they can begin to recover from the damaging effects of COVID-19.

“It is also providing employment for skilled craft workers who help keep historic places alive and the wheels of the heritage sector turning. Our shared heritage is an anchor for us all in these challenging times and this funding will help to ensure it remains part of our collective future.”


Cracks in the flint walls. Photo A Moskvina
Cracks in the flint walls. Photo: A Moskvina
You can read more about the Culture Recovery Fund Grants in East Anglia here: EDP


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