Grants secure future of 1,000 year Waterden church
The remote North Norfolk church of All Saints’ Waterden, nestled in fields near the site of a lost medieval village, will be repaired and preserved thanks to a series of grants including £182,000 from the National Lottery.
South Creake Parochial Church Council has received a Heritage Lottery Fund grant to make the roof and porch of All Saints' Waterden watertight, combat damp, repair walls and do other essential work to preserve the 11th century gem for future generations.
The church is on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register, and the restoration project will secure the church’s fabric while keeping its simple charm.
The church, which is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086, is a jumble of architectural styles from Norman to early English and Tudor. A storm in the early 17th century caused part of the nave to collapse but the church kept going and now holds eight services a year including a popular candlelit Carol Service on Christmas Eve for the local community.
As well as the National Lottery grant, the project, costing £235,000 in total, is being made possible by generous donations from other grant funders. The Norfolk Churches Trust are donating £10,000, the Garfield Weston Foundation £7,500, and the Geoffrey Watling Charity £1,000. The nearby Holkham Estate has also given £3,000.
Fr Clive Wylie, Rector of Waterden and Vicar of South Creake, said: “All Saints’ Church is a wonderful place of great spirituality and peace. I am delighted that we have received this support for our 1,000-year-old church thanks to the National Lottery players and I hope it will help to secure its future for another 1,000 years.”
Robyn Llewellyn, Head of HLF, East of England said: “We have been delighted to support All Saints’ Waterden, to carry out urgent repairs and to make the history of this fascinating church accessible to more people. Thank you to the National Lottery players who have made it possible.”
As part of the project, research into the history of the church and the nearby lost village of Waterden will also be carried out. The village disappeared in the late Middle Ages but it is unclear why. New literature will be prepared to inform the public about the Grade II listed building and the village.
The project will also ensure that the beautiful church becomes better known and is made more accessible to visitors and worshippers. They will be helped by a small new car park set well away from the church on land leased from the Holkham Estate, an orientation board in the car park, and new road signs. The programme of community involvement with this much-loved place will be stepped up.
A community group, the Friends of All Saints’ Waterden, has been established to help to care for the church and to maintain the churchyard. In addition to raising funds for the maintenance of the church, the Friends hold events to stimulate interest in it and to share its beauty and spirituality.
Photo credit: All Saints' Waterden © John Fielding