A Renaissance for St Peter’s: Bringing Forncett People Together for Another 1,000 Years
This beautiful Grade 1 listed building has been central to life in the Forncetts since Saxon times. Now it is in desperate need of major repairs and renovations to allow us to develop urgently needed community space to bring people together. Most important is the need to make the building watertight – extensive areas need re-roofing, failing lead work needs replacing and faulty gutters, down-pipes and surface drains need repair / replacement. Structural deterioration and cracking of external stone and flint-work has meant that areas of the churchyard have had to be cordoned off incase of falling masonry. A very serious problem with the chancel roof, where the wall plates supporting the roof beams have rolled outwards, has recently been propped with internal scaffolding to support it until permanent repairs can be carried out as part of our major restoration project. Windows, cracked internal masonry and collapsing floor surfaces all pose major challenges. The wonderful 15th century Drakes Tomb is suffering from cracking and discolouration. Once the structural work has been completed redecoration will be essential and the remarkable set of carved pew ends can be enjoyed in their full glory.
St Peter’s restoration will be a gift and legacy to all who value community, tranquillity, history and beauty. Central to our aims is making this a church for the wider community with a range of activities and facilities so more people can enjoy it; an oasis of fun, family, friends, spirituality for Forncett. Sadly the costs of dealing with the structural issues means that the current lack of toilet and kitchen facilities and the very limited heating will have to be dealt with once the building is stable. Disabled access is currently also very poor and improvements are an essential part of our planning. St Peter's will once again become the centre of our community life and a welcoming space for visitors. We will be at pains to make changes sensitive to the historic importance of the building and its wonderful spirit of calm and peace.
£646,000 is estimated (July 2022) as the combined cost of crucial repairs needed to take St Peter's off the 'Heritage at Risk Register', developing on-going community activities and improvements to the site to provide access for those with limited mobility. This is an eye-watering amount for a small village to raise. The Friends of St Peter’s have been set up to spearhead the work of fund-raising, involving the local community and bringing St Peter's to a wider audience.
We have submitted a grant application for a major National Lottery Heritage Fund Grant (NLHF), as well as raising funds through other Grants, Events, Donations and developing collaborations with other interest groups, such as Round Tower Churches Society .
An on-line giving campaign has started to appeal to potential supporters world-wide - please use the 'Donate' button today, if you can.
Area of fallen plaster, with all loose material removed, May 2021. Photo: Ruth Blackman
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