Church in Forncett St Mary to receive £25,000 for Save our Saxon Tower project

St Marys Church in Forncett has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund to aid its Save our Saxon Tower project. Submitted picture.
St Marys Church in Forncett has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund to aid its Save our Saxon Tower project. Submitted picture.

A south Norfolk church has seen its prayers answered after receiving a boost to its project to preserve its tower, which dates back to Anglo Saxon times.

St Mary’s Church in Forncett St Mary has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to aid its Save our Saxon Tower project.

We are delighted to receive this National Lottery grant and acknowledge that, without this support, it would not be possible to work towards saving this wonderful building

Graham Prior

The project aims to carry out urgent work to repair the oldest part of the Grade I-listed church, the Saxon tower and preserve it for generations to come.

Development funding of £25,000 has been awarded by HLF to help the parochial church council progress its plans and apply for a full grant at a later date.

Graham Prior, chairman of the friends of the church, said: “We are delighted to receive this National Lottery grant and acknowledge that, without this support, it would not be possible to work towards saving this wonderful building.

“It is a valuable asset for future generations, both as a church and community resource.”

St Mary’s Church is mentioned in the Domesday Book and there has been a church on the site since the 10th century.

Ten years ago, the church, having been made redundant in 1985, was in very poor condition, and it had become difficult to access. Through the dedication of local people, restoration work began.

In 2012, English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund offered grants, which allowed repairs to be undertaken to enable the church to come out of redundancy and be used by the community again for events as well as church services.

The Save our Saxon Tower project aims to finish the main structural repairs to the tower and porch, conserving the unique heritage of the building.

The development of a website and guidebooks will enable visitors to better understand and engage with the architecture and history of the church, as well as the biodiversity of the surrounding area.