12th century Flamstead Church secures National Lottery support
The determination of a team in Flamstead, Hertfordshire, to repair their 12th century parish church and save its priceless heritage has been rewarded with a further grant of up to £642,500 from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Thanks to National Lottery players, the project will repair the failing medieval roof timbers and leaking stonework to make the building weatherproof, and put the church on the map as a heritage venue where people of all ages will enjoy discovering the stories of those who have left their mark on it over 900 years.
The £642,500 grant adds to the £92,000 already received to prepare detailed proposals for an exciting three-year project, towards which the villagers have raised £285,000 of matched funding through a variety of activities and the support of other funds and trusts. Work will start immediately on planning for the project delivery, subject to restrictions imposed due to Covid-19.
Schools will be able to participate in puppet, drama and storytelling projects; young people will help to design new web-based exploration experiences; ecology projects will re-use old organ pipes for bat and bird boxes; and history will be brought to life in talks and tours with optional cream teas. Volunteers will be offered training in new skills like recording living memories, overseeing Duke of Edinburgh Award participation, doing a photographic survey of medieval graffiti, and hosting visitors – all as part of what will be a major community project.
Built in Norman times at the behest of a standard-bearer who served William the Conqueror, the church commemorates people with strong links with the Earls of Warwick and the Elizabethan Court. Its pillars bear Tudor inscriptions to ordinary folk buried beneath their favourite pews, while its monuments tell of the influence of rich and powerful families in the area. Most intriguing of all are the wall-paintings, spanning some 600 years and uncovered in the 1930s after being hidden beneath plaster since the Reformation. A contemporary wall-hanging will recreate the central painting in full colour to celebrate saving the church from closure.
For the press release announcing the National Lottery Fund Grant see here.
For more information, updates and pictures visit the Flamstead Heritage website.
Many thanks to Andrew Lambourne for the information and picture of St Leonard’s.