South Cambs ‘friendless’ church has more than 60 visitors at open day

PUBLISHED: 12:30 01 August 2018 | UPDATED: 13:00 01 August 2018

There has been an open day at St Denis' church, East Hatley - which is owned by The Friends of Friendless Churches. Picture: Peter Mann

There has been an open day at St Denis' church, East Hatley - which is owned by The Friends of Friendless Churches. Picture: Peter Mann

Archant

More than 60 people went along to the open day of a ‘friendless’ South Cambs church.

There has been an open day at St Denis' church, East Hatley - which is owned by The Friends of Friendless Churches. Picture: Peter MannThere has been an open day at St Denis' church, East Hatley - which is owned by The Friends of Friendless Churches. Picture: Peter Mann

The redundant church of St Denis’ in East Hatley is a Grade II* building dating back to around 1217, and is owned by charity Friends of Friendless Churches.

Director Rachel Morle took everyone inside and spoke enthusiastically about its history and the first phase of renovations, which were completed in May this year.

There has been an open day at St Denis' church, East Hatley - which is owned by The Friends of Friendless Churches. Picture: Peter MannThere has been an open day at St Denis' church, East Hatley - which is owned by The Friends of Friendless Churches. Picture: Peter Mann

“The evening generated a lot of enthusiasm among the people of Hatley – it was all very exciting,” she said.

The church was previously restored in 1874 by the noted Victorian architect William Butterfield, who was known for his Gothic Revival style and desire to make his churches open for everyone, regardless of wealth or status.

There has been an open day at St Denis' church, East Hatley - which is owned by The Friends of Friendless Churches. Picture: Peter MannThere has been an open day at St Denis' church, East Hatley - which is owned by The Friends of Friendless Churches. Picture: Peter Mann

“Since acquiring the building in 2016, the friends have spent more than £113,000 on it,” said Rachel.

“Going forward after funds have been raised, we intend to install glazing to the chancel – including a 19th century stained glass window from a church in Norfolk in the east window, and recreate William Butterfield’s 1874 polychromic tiling. Internal wall and ceiling finishes throughout the building must also be repaired and renewed – it is estimated £100,000 is needed to complete the repairs before it can be regularly opened,” she said.

There has been an open day at St Denis' church, East Hatley - which is owned by The Friends of Friendless Churches. Picture: Peter MannThere has been an open day at St Denis' church, East Hatley - which is owned by The Friends of Friendless Churches. Picture: Peter Mann

The Friends of Friendless Churches is a charity which cares for redundant churches throughout England and Wales – St John the Baptist in Papworth St Agnes is another near church owned by FoFC, as is Caldecote’s St Mary Magdalene across the county border in North Herts.

For more information go to friendsoffriendlesschurches.org.uk.

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