Restoration work starts on Wilberfoss Church chancel

St John the Baptist Church in Wilberfoss.
St John the Baptist Church in Wilberfoss.

Vital restoration work at St John the Baptist Church in Wilberfoss, supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, has now started.

The church was awarded a grant of £196,800 in addition to the previous development grant of £32,800 for its Chancel re-roofing, external repairs and associated works.

The project aims to repair the thirteenth century Chancel roof structure to prevent the risk of collapse.

The project architects selected for the work are Ferry and Mennim while the contract was awarded to Historic Property Restoration Ltd.

In addition to crucial urgent re-roofing, associated works will include partial rebuilding and the provision of new limestone coping stones to replace the inadequate copings and re-rendering of the Nave East Gable as well as general maintenance on the building.

Work at the church is expected to be complete by the end of October this year.

The total grant eligible project costs are £323,936.

Commenting on the funding, Richard Dunn, PCC building project coordinator, said: “We’re delighted that we’ve received this support from National Lottery players. The church is a rare Grade 1 listed building and the roof to the Chancel is a major cause for concern.

“It’s great to know we will be able to conserve and repair the chancel roof and historic fabric and repair a number of serious defects, to reduce risks to everyone using and visiting the church.

“We take our role as ‘custodians of the heritage’ very seriously and we are delighted that the National Lottery Heritage Fund have agreed to support this scheme.”

These new developments and support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund will benefit the community as it will improve enjoyment and understanding of the architectural and archaeological heritage with the help of a new Guide Book, website, plus a social media presence.

The church will also be hosting guided visits, in addition to ‘open church’ arrangements.

Mr Dunn added: “The PCC believe that there are exciting opportunities for improving how people engage with heritage.

“Although the church is open to any visitors daily, there are no guidebooks or accessible on-line information about the history of the twelfth century church, the former Priory layout, history and archaeology.

“The opportunity for improving appreciation of heritage is substantial. Sadly, most visitors are unaware of the rich history of the church and surrounding Priory archaeology.

“This project will resolve this issue”