Yorkshire Historic Churches Trust

Six churches from across Yorkshire are celebrating this month after being awarded over £32,000 from the Yorkshire Historic Churches Trust for essential repairs, conservation and maintenance works. 

Funding was awarded to places of worship from both the Catholic and Anglican denomination, and included £10,000 to St Cuthbert’s, a large urban church in Bradford, and St Mary’s in Hutton Magna in rural North Yorkshire acting as a local food bank.

The future of many churches is under threat due to crumbling roofs, windows, and stonework. The YHCT works to ensure these places of worship are kept in good repair, recognising the contribution they make to society at large and the support they provide to local communities, especially during the ongoing Covid crisis.

The funding provides a vital lifeline to places of worship who have been unable to carry out their usual fundraising activities over the past two years, and at a time when many are increasingly providing a number of essential services to local communities, such as post office services, food banks, homeless support, credit unions, as well as offering buildings that provide peace and comfort.

In many cases, the funding was awarded alongside other larger national grants, which means the vital repair works can now begin. 

One of the churches receiving funds is St Germain’s church in Winestead, in the East Riding, which received £6,000 towards vital roof repairs. 

St Germain’s church is Grade 1 listed, dating back to the 12th century, and houses some of the only remaining fragments of medieval glass in Holderness.  The church is steeped in history, located next to the moated remains of an early manor house.

After a spate of lead thefts in the 1980s, a new roof was added, but over the years water has been getting in and the guttering and roof is now in need of repair to prevent further damage.

The church is the only community building in the village, and acts as an important focal point for the local area.

Another recipient is St Mary the Virgin in Woodkirk, dating from around 1100, with the original tower still in place. The remainder of the church was rebuilt in the 1830s after a storm blew in the roof in 1832. The East window contains fragments of medieval stained glass that, but repairs are now needed in order to secure the window.

The Reverend Sharon Wilkinson, the vicar at St Mary’s, raised £4000 from a sponsored walk towards the coast of the repairs and is determined to see the project completed before she retires.

Rev Sharon said:

We are delighted to have been awarded this grant from the YHCT. Our beautiful East window is over 150 years old and is now in need of urgent repair to ensure it can be in place for another 150 years. St Mary’s is well loved and much used by both the congregation and the local community, who have pulled together to help with fundraising. We have held tea parties, tours, and open days to raise funds and I am undertaking another sponsored walk in September and am confident we will reach our target.

Tom Ramsden, Chairman of the Yorkshire Historic Churches Trust, said: “Thanks to the generosity of our Friends and donors, we have been able to support a range of places of worship, from Holy Rosary in Leeds built in  1937, to All Saints in Settrington, with an original tower dating back to the late 14th century.”

He continued: “Over the past two years we have witnessed the important role churches play in their local communities and now, more than ever, they need our help to ensure they remain standing from many years to come”.

You can become a Friend of the Trust and help support local places of worship from as little as £35 per year. For more details visit www.yhct.org.uk.

Written by: Vanessa White

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