£60,000 repair project for medieval city church gets under way

Historian and volunteer, Stuart McLaren, at St Augustine's Church in Norwich, where work has started

Historian and volunteer, Stuart McLaren, at St Augustine's Church in Norwich, where work has started to repair the east end of the building. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Urgently needed repairs worth nearly £60,000 have started at a medieval church in Norwich.

Repairs to the flint masonry at St Augustine's Church, in St Augustine's Street, began towards the end of January following a £47,000 grant from the government. 

St Augustine's Church in Norwich, where work has started to repair the east end of the building. Pic

St Augustine's Church in Norwich, where work has started to repair the east end of the building. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

The Churches Conservation Trust (CCT), which owns the church, received a share of more than £360,000 in grants for church buildings in Norfolk and Suffolk, from the Culture Recovery Fund, via the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Historic England.

The project at St Augustine's will cost £59,000 in total and includes repairs to the masonry and flintwork on the east chancel and east nave gables, the east walls of the north and south aisles and the south elevation of the porch.

The work is expected to take around three months.

Historian and volunteer, Stuart McLaren, at St Augustine's Church in Norwich, where work has started

Historian and volunteer, Stuart McLaren, at St Augustine's Church in Norwich, where work has started to repair the east end of the building. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

Stuart McLaren, who has volunteered at the church for two decades, said: "It's extremely vital. That type of medieval church is very fragile. 

"They [The CCT] are conserving historic places for future generations to enjoy and make sure they are kept safe.

"If we let them fall down they are lost forever, and Norwich has lost lots of churches over the years. Some were demolished in the reformation, some were bombed in the Second World War.

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"We are fortunate to still have 30, which I understand is the largest number of medieval churches in one place in the whole of northern Europe."

First records of the church date back to 1163, but Mr McLaren said nothing of the building dates back to this time.

The church has been damaged numerous times over its history, including the destruction of the roof during Kett's Rebellion and its tower falling down in 1670. 

St Augustine's Church in Norwich, where work has started to repair the east end of the building. Pic

St Augustine's Church in Norwich, where work has started to repair the east end of the building. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

St Augustine's Church in Norwich, where work has started to repair the east end of the building. Pic

St Augustine's Church in Norwich, where work has started to repair the east end of the building. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

A new tower was built out of brick which led to people in the St Augustine's parish to be known as Red Steeplers. 

Mr McLaren, who runs the St Augustine's Community Together Residents' Association, said: "In the local community they like the church as its a focus and they appreciate it is there.

"People may not think about it all the time but it does make the area distinctive and special in some way.

St Augustine's Church in 1993. 

St Augustine's Church in 1993. - Credit: Archant Library

Dirk Duwel repairs the St Augustine's Church clock, 1993.

Dirk Duwel repairs the St Augustine's Church clock, 1993. - Credit: Archant Library

"One of our former vicars used to say this area was a village in a city."

The work will be carried out by S&L Restoration Ltd, from Felthorpe.


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