Churches saved from falling into disrepair

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LIFELINES totalling more than £300,000 have been extended to four crumbling South Yorkshire churches.

English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery Fund have given St Leonard’s in Thrybergh, Rotherham, and St Michael and All Angels in Great Houghton, near Barnsley, much-needed grants to repair leaking roofs and damaged masonry.

Funds also go to two churches in Doncaster – St Mary’s in Sprotbrough, and St Mary’s in Tickhill.

The grants are part of an £18 million cash pot distributed to 138 places of worship nationwide.

Trevor Mitchell, English Heritage planning director, said: “We want our historic places of worship to have a secure future. Not only are they places of prayer and hubs of the community but they are also among this region’s greatest architectural treasures.

“Without the vital safety net of the repair grants scheme, many congregations would be faced with watching their beloved churches and chapels falling into ruin.”

St Leonard’s, thought to pre-date the Norman invasion in 1066, will receive £139,000 to fix the nave, south porch and vestry roofs, drainage, masonry and plaster. St Michael’s, a Grade II* church built in 1650, will get £180,000 to repair roofing, rain water goods and masonry.

Grade I listed St Mary’s in Sprotbrough – a parish which dates back to the latter part of the 10th century – gets £103,000 for repairs to its chancel and aisle roofs, masonry, glazing and drainage. Grade II* listed St Mary’s, Tickhill, gets £61,000 for repairs to statues, monuments, masonry and glazing.

Fiona Spiers, head of the Heritage Lottery Fund for Yorkshire, added: “Historic places of worship occupy a unique position at the heart of communities and are a focus for so many civil and social activities in addition to their central purpose as a place for prayer and contemplation.

“This is at the very core of what the Heritage Lottery Fund wants to achieve and the reason we have substantially increased our investment.”