Trust works with Historic England on ‘At Risk’ Register to safeguard churches

Historic England has added 10 churches in Norfolk to its latest “At Risk Register” but removed seven sites.

The Norfolk Churches Trust has made grants to many of the seven, which no longer feature on the “At Risk” list.

The trust’s secretary, Scilla Latham, has been working closely with churches and the national body, Historic England, to help safeguard the county’s heritage.

All Saints, Walsoken

However, the 10 added to the Register include All Saints, Walsoken, near King’s Lynn, which is grade 1 listed and includes one of the largest Norman naves in East Anglia. The lead roof is in poor condition putting the 15th century roof at risk.

A 20th Roman Catholic church at Gorleston, designed by the sculptor Eric Gill in 1938/9, is also in poor condition, warns Historic England.

The latest At Risk list includes two churches in Norwich, St Martin at Oak and St Margaret in St Benedicts. Others include Mautby, St Mary; Hindringham, St Martin; Watlington, St Peter and St Paul; Harpley, St Lawrence; Forncett, St Peter and North Elmham, St Mary.

St Martin’s Hindringham

The Norfolk Churches Trust has provided advice and support on repairs and conservation strategies to both Walsoken and Gorleston. It has given grants of £3,000 to Hindringham, £10,000 to Harpley and North Elmham £7,000. A £1,000 grant was made to St Peter, Forncett.

There has been some success too. Historic England announced that seven sites have been removed from the 2020 At Risk Register – including two round tower churches, All Saints, Runhall and St Mary, East Walton. The others include St Nicholas, Salthouse; Well Hall Roman settlement in Grimston/Gayton; St Margaret, Starston; St Mary, East Walton; Holy Cross, Caston and St Margaret, Swannington.

St Margaret’s, Starston

The NCT has again given financial assistance in the past five years including £10,000 to Starston in November 2017 and also £4,000 to St Mary, East Walton. Both received significant Heritage Lottery Fund grants for repairs, which were completed last year.

Caston was given £2,000 by the trust in 2017.

Mrs Latham, who has advised on repairs to 37 churches in the past several years, was mildly surprised that Runhall has been removed from the “At Risk” list. The trust has helped to fund investigations into cracks ahead of a possible repair project.