Four churches across the Grantham area were among dozens in the region to get a share of £2.3 million of Government funding announced on Wednesday.
A total of £22.9m will be given to 401 historic places of worship across the UK as part of Listed Places of Worship: Roof Repair Fund, it was announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne. Forty-five places of worship in the East Midlands will share £2,308,900.
The church on the Journal’s news coverage area to receive the most is the Church of St Botolph and St John the Baptist in Croxton Kerrial, at £96,200. The Grade II listed church, which dates back to the 15th century and was remodelled by the famous Victorian architect G. G. Scott in the 1860s, is in need of urgent roof repairs following the thefts of substantial amounts of lead twice in 2015.
A spokesman said the parochial church council members and villagers were ‘devastated’ by the crime, adding: “Since then, the roof has only been covered with temporary plastic sheeting.
“Despite this, given the extremely wet weather we have had over the last few weeks and months, water has been getting into the church, so we are absolutely thrilled to have been awarded this grant which will enable us to begin repairs and make our beautiful church watertight again.
“We are also extremely grateful to the villagers in Croxton Kerrial who have supported our fund-raising efforts so well. All of the money we have raised will also go towards the roof repairs.”
A theft of lead was also behind the plea for help from All Saints Church in Westborough, which was granted £88,500 from the fund.
The Rev Sonia Barron said: “This is fantastic news. Last August we had a major theft with all the lead taken from the north aisle and transept and an attempted theft from the south aisle, leaving the roof damaged.
“Members of the parochial church council, working together with local people, managed to cover the roof with plastic sheeting as a temporary measure and we made it through the winter.
“Thanks to this generous grant from HLF we are pleased that we can now proceed with making the roof good again.”
Work will start on roof repairs at St James’ Church in Castle Bytham in the summer after a £23,800 grant from the fund helped push its fund-raising total beyond the £120,000 needed.
Philip Styan, who has been preparing grant bids on behalf of the church, said they had been fund-raising for more than two years. He said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive this funding – it means we are home and dry and takes us over our target, so we have a little contingency money.
“The roof is 200 years old and we’ve been patching it up but the architect has told us, we’re at the point that patching it up is no longer working.
“At last count we had six puddles inside the church and we’ve been moving buckets and bowls around, which is clearly not ideal.
“We’re really looking forward to work starting in the summer with a view to it being completed by November.”
St Mary the Virgin Church in Bottesford is in line to receive £20,200.
The Journal was unable to make contact with the church by the time of going to press.
The Roof Repair Fund is administered by the National Heritage Memorial Fund on behalf of the Department for Culture Media and Sport.
Heritage minister Tracey Crouch said: “Churches and cathedrals are the jewel in the crown of our national heritage and it is vital they remain in good repair and are accessible for all.
“These buildings are at the heart of communities across the country and I am delighted so many will benefit from this important fund.”