Norwich medieval church's future safeguarded after £59,000 repair works

St Augustine's Church in Norwich, where conservation work has been completed. Picture: DENISE BRADLE

St Augustine's Church in Norwich, where conservation work has been completed. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: DENISE BRADLEY/Archant2021

A medieval church in Norwich has been given a "new lease of life" following the completion of nearly £60,000 repair works. 

Urgent works costing £59,000 began on St Augustine's Church, in St Augustine's Street, towards the end of January 

The work included 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 Churches Conservation Trust (CCT) owns the building and received a £47,000 grant from the government for its culture recovery fund.

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: "I'm delighted. We were not expecting the money from the fund and we were lucky to be one of the few churches. 

"The last major conservation work was just over 20 years ago when the Churches Conservation Trust took over the care of the building from the Church of England. At the stage there were many problems with the roof with water getting in." 

The work will be visible for all to see when the builders remove the sacking, which is currently in place while there are frosts to protect the mortar. 

First records of the church date back to 1163, but none of the current building dates back to that time, having been damaged number times in its history. 

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During Kett's Rebellion, the roof was destroyed and in 1670 the tower fell down, and was replaced with one built out of brick - leading to people in the St Augustine's parish to be known as Red Steeplers. 

A Churches Conservation Trust spokesman said: "‘With generous support from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund, we’ve recently been able to undertake urgent high level masonry repairs at St Augustine’s. The gutters and downpipes were also overhauled, after these had been damaged through vandalism. This significant project was a real opportunity to safeguard the future of this historic building and give it a new lease of life."

The trust is planning to host an event with the Norwich and Norfolk Medieval Association on the weekend of September 18 for Heritage Open Days which will  "give a window" into the everyday life of 14th century Norwich. 

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