St Margaret’s Swannington has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for work that will address a large amount of accumulated repairs, and help provide a warm, bright space in which people can engage with the heritage of the building.
Development funding of £31,500 has been awarded to help the church progress plans to apply for a full grant of £218,300 at a later date.
The church’s 2015 quinquennial report identified a number of major repairs, the cost of which is beyond the regular income of the parochial church council.
Urgent repairs are required to inadequate and derelict rainwater goods on the porch and south and north aisles, along with extensive re-leading and repairing of windows in all parts of the church.
St. Margaret’s is Grade I listed, and lies on the old Pilgrims’ Way from Norwich to the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham.
The church has stood on the site from at least the 13th century. It is in the Diocese of Norwich, Deanery of Sparham, Archdeaconry of Lynn, and Reepham and Wensum Valley Team Ministry.
The Norfolk Medieval Graffiti Survey discovered a large quantity of pre-Reformation outlines throughout the church, including rare architectural inscriptions and window plans on a St Christopher wall painting. The HLF grant application includes the commissioning of a specialist conservator’s report on this treasure.
Antoinette Watts, churchwarden at St Margaret’s, said: “The church is the only public building in the village and it will be wonderful for it to be restored so that it can be used not only for worship, but also by the community, for concerts and exhibitions and many other events besides.”
The grant will also make it possible to establish heritage displays, a website, improve signage and create new leaflets for visitors.
Besides the HLF grant, the church will also be working to raise additional funds through various events, including the biennial open gardens event, Swannington in Bloom, which will take place next on Sunday 25 June 2017.