£90,000 ‘rescue package’ for region’s crumbling churches

Lay Minister Jan Ali inside the Church of the Epiphany, Gipton, Leeds.
Lay Minister Jan Ali inside the Church of the Epiphany, Gipton, Leeds.
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SOME of Yorkshire’s most architecturally important – yet crumbling – churches have received grants towards urgent structural repairs.

Charity the National Churches Trust has announced a £645,000 “rescue package” for 45 of the country’s most historic and community-minded churches, including six in Yorkshire.

The six includes Grade I listed churches St Martin at Womersley, near Doncaster, and Church of the Epiphany at Gipton, Leeds.

St Martin receives £40,000 for urgent repairs to the slate roof, roof timbers and drainage. The money will help stop water getting into the building and solve damp problems.

Dating from the 12th century, the St Martin is dominated by its 14th Century tower and spire. At least three Victorian restorations, the last one by G F Bodley, make it one of the best examples of Victorian Catholic revival in northern England. The church is the only significant public building in the village – in the past ten years the shop, post office and school have closed. The pub shut many years ago and the nearest petrol pump and ATM are five miles away.

Gipton’s Church of the Epiphany gets £10,000 to help fund repairs to the windows which will reinstate both the original design of the church and provide vital weatherproofing.

The church was designed by Nugent Cachemaille-Day who was much influenced by the church in Coutances, Normandy. It was consecrated in May 1938 to provide for the new garden suburb estate in Gipton. The glass in the Lady Chapel, predominantly blue, provides a focus of colour in the light and spacious building.

The Grade II listed St James’s church at Clapham, North Yorkshire, gets £10,000 to help fund a project including repairing tower parapets, nave parapets and plasterwork, re-roofing the boiler house and repairs to the west window.

The original Norman church was destroyed by the Scots in a raid following the Battle of Bannockburn. The new parish church is believed to have been built in about 1400. Most of the tower built at that time still stands but the medieval nave was demolished and rebuilt at twice its former width between 1812 and 1814.

St Peter’s Church in Huddersfield town centre, which is Grade II* listed, gets £10,000 for masonry and glazing repairs.

Grade II listed St Alban’s Church in Hull gets £10,000 to fund re-roofing work. The roofs have been leaking for some time.

The National Churches Trust also provided community grants towards the cost of facilities such as kitchens and toilets.

In Yorkshire, Hope Baptist Church, a Grade II listed building at Hebden Bridge, gets £10,000 for new toilets, disabled access and a stair lift.

Broadcaster Huw Edwards, vice-president of the National Churches Trust said: “As well as being kept beautiful, it is important that places of worship can help local people. That’s why the National Churches Trust’s latest grants also help projects to install kitchens, toilets and to improve access for the elderly and people with disabilities.”