Timely cash boost for Gissing church in bid to carry out “urgent” repairs

St Mary the Virgin Church, Gissing. Photo: Gary Southwell ANL-160615-140539001

St Mary the Virgin Church, Gissing. Photo: Gary Southwell ANL-160615-140539001

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A Grade 1 listed church in south Norfolk which has stood for a thousand years has received a cash boost to fund “urgent” repairs to its walls and roof.

A £5,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant has been awarded to St Mary The Virgin, Gissing, which is on Historic England’s ‘Heritage at Risk’ Register. This means the church has raised its share of the total project costs as part of a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Stage 2 submission, to allow for £316,000 worth of works to take place.

We want the church to be used as a community venue

George Hammond

The church features a flint round tower dating back to pre-conquest times. The main interior feature is a 15th Century double-hammer beam roof with rows of angels with outstretched wings, which has featured recently in a publication called ‘the Angel Roofs of East Anglia’ by Michael Rimmer.

But it is hoped the cash award will go some way to allow it to be removed from the At Risk Register, as it will contribute to repairs to ensure a sound and watertight building, while improved rainwater goods and draining will help to protect the interior monuments and decorations of the church itself.

George Hammond, lay vice chairman and fabric officer of the Gissing PCC, said they should find out whether they have been successful with the HLF in August or September.

He said a crack in a wall in the south chapel was first spotted in 2013. A wooden prop has been put in place to stop it falling down, at a cost of £2.500. Other improvements will include a new heating system and lighting system to show off the angels.

“This would not have been possible without the help of both local and nationwide charities such as The Norfolk Churches Trust, Round Tower Churches Society, All Churches Trust Limited, Garfield Weston Foundation, Bishop of Norwich’s Fabric Fund,

Paul Basham Charitable Trust, National Churches Trust, The Friends of Gissing Church and the continued support of villagers,” he said.

“We want the church to be used as a community venue. It hosts a fete and special events now but we want to be sure it can be used more.

“With heating you could hold events throughout the year.”

For more information visit www.nationalchurchestrust.org