Village church receives 'lifeline' grant from government
- Credit: All Saints'
The Church of All Saints' Croydon cum Clopton has received a financial boost from the government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help fund emergency repairs and restoration during the coronavirus pandemic.
These "lifeline" grants from the fund are designed to protect heritage sites and ensure that jobs and access to culture and heritage in local communities are protected during the months ahead.
All Saints’ has been awarded £24,925 towards the cost of emergency repairs which will enable the whole building to re-open.
Severe cracks in the chancel floor have meant that the chancel has been closed off for some considerable time and, following a structural investigation, this grant will enable making the chancel floor and the burial crypt beneath it safe. In addition, this award will enable the repair of several windows, which are already propped to avert collapse and where severe loss of ancient fabric is occurring.
Grants of up to £25,000 are being allocated to cherished heritage sites, like All Saints’, across the country to cover urgently needed maintenance and repairs.
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This vital funding comes from a part of the Culture Recovery Fund called the Heritage Stimulus Fund and is administered on behalf of the government by Historic England.
As well as rescuing precious heritage buildings in need, the injection of cash will protect livelihoods for some of the most vulnerable heritage specialists and contractors working in the sector.
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Culture secretary and Hertsmere MP Oliver Dowden said: “These grants will help the places that have shaped our skylines for hundreds of years and that continue to define culture in our towns and cities.
"We’re protecting heritage and culture in every corner of the country to save jobs and ensure it's there for future generations to enjoy.”
All Saints’ is a beautiful early 13th-century unspoiled Grade II*-parish church set within an ancient churchyard and treasured by the Croydon's tiny community of about 220 residents.
The Revd. Felicity Couch, Rector of All Saints’ Croydon cum Clopton said: “The funding we have received from the Culture Recovery Fund will enable us to make repairs in the crypt, which will allow us to re-open our chancel so that the church can once again be fully used by the local community.
"We are very grateful to them for this support."
Duncan Wilson - Historic England chief executive - said: “Historic places across the country are being supported by the government’s grants awarded under the Culture Recovery Fund.
"This funding is a lifeline which is kick-starting essential repairs and maintenance at many of our most precious historic sites, so they can begin to recover from the damaging effects of COVID-19.
“It is also providing employment for skilled craft workers who help keep historic places alive and the wheels of the heritage sector turning. Our shared heritage is an anchor for us all in these challenging times and this funding will help to ensure it remains part of our collective future.”
All Saints church and the wider area are steeped in history.
The church is the resting place of the Downings and the crypt below the church contains the remains of the builders of Downing Street and Downing College.
Croydon and Clopton were originally two communities and were joined together in 1561. This was due to the de-population and aggressive enclosures of Clopton by a London Lawyer, John Fisher.
Clopton had a market in the 12th century which would have given it the status of a town at that time.
There have also been traces of Roman occupation in Clopton and an, an Anglo-Saxon village covering 30 acres had been established by the 10th century.
Today, Clopton is a lost village - although its site can still be visited by following the bridleway that extends westwards from Croydon High Street.
The church - which is part of the Orwell group, also consisting of Arrington, Barrington, Orwell and Wimpole parish churches - is also home to small exhibition of the former village.
For more go to the website www.achurchnearyou.com/church/13856/about-us/.