St Mary Magdalene, Peckleton and St Philip & St James, Ratby are to share in a £1.5 million funding payout thanks to an investment in church heritage by the Heritage Stimulus Fund, part of the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund.
A £25,000 Grant will help fund work to the Grade I listed St Mary Magdalene, and a £26,108 Grant will help fund work to the Grade II* listed St Philip & St James, keep their churches at the heart of the local community. They are among 17 churches across the country receiving Heritage Stimulus Fund grants in this round of funding.
St Mary Magdalene Church dates from the early 14th Century. Major restorations took place in 1869 including to the nave roof and chancel floor. The west tower has six bells, a gift by Thomas Boothby in 1713. The east window of 1894 is by Charles Kempe with his signature hay sheaves. Above the tower arch is a hatchment of the arms of Queen Victoria, presented in 1863. The grant will facilitate stone work and roof repairs.
St Philip & St James Church, a Grade II listed building, was built in four stages between the 13th and 15th centuries. It was restored by Nicholas Joyce in 1881. The 14th century font which replaced an earlier one was originally used by special dispensation of the Archbishop of Canterbury at the christening of a son of Sir Edward Grey (c1446) in Groby Hall. It was moved to Ratby in the early 1500s. The oldest part of the church dates from between 1230 and 1250. The tower houses eight bells, the oldest of which was installed in1367. The grant will facilitate repairs to the stonework of the west wall of the tower both internally and externally.
Administered on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) by Historic England, the grants are aimed to support and bolster local economies and jobs across the country. Money from the government's £2 billion Culture Recovery Fund is intended to open up heritage and the benefits it brings to everyone.
Claire Walker, CEO National Churches Trust said: "Historic local places of worship are a vital part of our national heritage, but sadly, a shortage of available funding means that many are in a very poor state of repair."
"The £1.5 million investment in our grants scheme by the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund is incredibly good news. It comes on top of £2 million from the Culture Recovery Fund awarded to us in October 2021, money which is already funding urgent heritage repairs at 15 churches in England. The funding is a vote of confidence in the future of historic church buildings and a recognition of their importance to society."
Huw Edwards, Vice-President of the National Churches Trust said: "Local churches, chapels and meeting houses are the beating heart of local communities. It's great news that St Mary Magdalene is being helped on the recommendation of the National Churches Trust with funding from the Culture Recovery Fund. This will help protect heritage and keep churches open so that they can continue to support local people."
Duncan Wilson, Historic England's Chief Executive, said: "Funding from the government's Culture Recovery Fund is hugely welcome at a time when the people and organisations who look after our vast and varied array of heritage urgently need support to carry out essential repairs. We are delighted that further historic sites and projects will benefit from this funding. It will add to the vital work of the Heritage Stimulus Fund in supporting irreplaceable heritage sites and places of worship across the country.”
Churches in the Dicoese of Leicester can seek advice about sources of funding from our Church Buildings Team (click here for contact info).