Grant for historic Northumberland church threatened by algae growth

13 April 2018

HLF

PCC members inspect the algae damage

PCC members inspect the algae damage

A GRANT of £90,200 from the National Lottery has allowed essential work to be carried out on a historic church threatened by algae growth.

St Wilfrid’s, Kirkharle, in Northumberland, in the diocese of Newcastle, received a grant last week from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) needed to save the 14th-century structure.

The Priest-in-Charge, the Revd Jonathan Mason, said that the grant was a “vital lifeline” for a church that was reliant on the support of the small congregation.

Despite hundreds of visitors a year to the historic church — Capability Brown was baptised there in 1716 — problems such as a failed heating system have not been tackled owing to a shortfall in funding.

As a result, damp has spread throughout the church, causing algae, alongside issues such as salt damage and general wear to the masonry.

“Like many churches all over the countryside, the cost of maintaining the fabric of the buildings falls increasingly to depleted congregations,” Mr Mason said. “The HLF’s financial support is a vital lifeline which will enable us to keep St Wilfrid’s warm and welcoming, and the building sound.

“In turn, it means we can hold services throughout the year ,and stage more fund-raising events, such as concerts and talks, attracting a wider audience beyond the immediate local community.

“We are fortunate to have enthusiastic volunteers and churchwardens in our parish who will continue fund-raising efforts and monitor the church to detect any further deterioration. St Wilfrid’s is a precious relic, and we want to preserve it for posterity.”

Read comment from the Bishop of Selby on why rural church are here to stay

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