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Friday, December 9, 2016
Wiltshire: 'ghost village' church saved
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¬†An abandoned mediaeval church in Salisbury Plain's 'ghost village' of Imber, in danger of collapse, could be saved now, under proposals released this week by Church of England Commissioners. The village of Imber was requisitioned by the Army in 1943 to be used to battle training exercises. All the residents were obliged to leave their homes, and they have never been allowed to return. Most of the buildings have been badly damaged. The Grade I listed St Giles's Church, situated in a churchyard on the slope of a hill overlooking the village, while out of bounds to the military, has suffered badly from neglect and lack of use. Former villagers have only been allowed to visit the church and graveyard for a few memorial services. The Ministry of Defence has pledged to contribute to the upkeep of the church under the new plans. Defence Minister Ivor Caplin MP said: "I welcome the initiative of the Church Commissioners in taking a long-term view of how best to maintain the church. I am delighted with the proposed outcome, which is consistent with MoD's interest in preserving the national heritage. The MoD will of course continue to make arrangements for visitors to have access to the church, consistent with the well established arrangements over many years". The estimated repair cost is some £200,000, towards which the MoD has agreed to contribute £60,000 over three years. It was agreed that this constitutes a full and final settlement of MoD's financial obligations to Imber Church. St Gile's church and churchyard, contains some fine 17th, 18th and 19th century monuments. Following closure of the village the fixtures and fittings were removed to other churches nearby, mostly to Edington Priory. The building still contains wall paintings, including an excellent Doom. Source: Church of England Media Office
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