Spring boost for UK's historic churches


St Alban's,  Macclesfield

St Alban's, Macclesfield

Fifty five churches and chapels in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland that are set to benefit from rescue funding of £425,183 from the National Churches Trust, the UK's church support charity. Churches receiving grants from the National Churches Trust include two Catholic churches: St Alban's in Macclesfield, Cheshire, and St Mary's, in Lanark, Lanarkshire.

St Alban's church in Macclesfield, in Shrewsbury Diocese has received a £10,000 funding boost in the shape of a National Churches Trust Repair Grant to help fund urgent roof repairs.

The project will secure the roof and stonework of the tower, prevent water penetration and protect the structure for future generations. The main entrance and organ will also be safeguarded. This work should go towards removing the building from Historic England's Heritage At Risk register. The project will repair the roof coverings, parapet gutters, masonry, glazing and roof drainage which are all in very poor condition.

St Alban's church in Macclesfield is a Roman Catholic parish church. The church is recorded in the National Heritage List for England as a designated Grade II* listed building. It was designed by the famous Victorian architect AWN Pugin and is described by Historic England as a "church of exceptional interest among the works of this major architect".

The church was designed in 1838 and built between 1839 and 1841. Some of the money needed to build it was given by the Earl of Shrewsbury; the total cost was about £8,000 (equivalent to £670,000 in 2016).

St Alban's was AWN Pugin's second major church and it appears in his hugely influential 1843 publication "The Present State of Ecclesiastical Architecture in England". Built in 1841, it is an excellent example of his early Perpendicular Gothic. Pevsner describes St Alban's as: "a Pugin church of considerable size and unstinted design". It still retains many significant features typical of AWN Pugin's work, such as the rood screen, which incorporates 15th century German or Flemish figures from Louvrain. See: www.stalbanmacc.org.uk

St Mary's church, Lanark, has received a funding boost in the shape of a £40,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant, the largest grant available, to help fund urgent roof repairs. The project will tackle the urgent roof repairs needed at St Mary's church. The main church roof and slates are in very poor condition and urgent need of repair. There are areas of loose, dislodged and missing slates, and previous repairs have been carried out with incorrect sizes. Lichen and moss are also a problem. The project will re-slate all roofs with the existing and new Westmorland green slates.

This essential work will preserve St Mary's architectural beauty and historical significance to the Catholic church in Scotland, and it will remain open for local community groups.

St Mary's is a complex of Grade A listed building in a courtyard style, with a baptistery, sacristry, presybytery and hall. The main church was built in 1856, and rebuilt in the 1910s after a fire. It is built in the Gothic revival style, out of sandstone with ashlar dressings. The main roofs are steeply pitched and finished with Westmorland green slates; the nave and transept roofs have three bands of decorative slates. See: www.stmaryslanark.org.uk

Huw Edwards, broadcaster and journalist and Vice President of The National Churches Trust said: "At the heart of communities in cities, towns and villages, churches are a treasure trove of architecture, history and faith. I'm delighted that the future of 55 churches and chapels in England, Scotland and Wales is being safeguarded thanks to grants of £425,183 from the National Churches Trust. "

"Churches and chapels are some of the UK's most beautiful buildings. So if you're looking for a day out this Spring, why not pop into a church or chapel and discover their priceless heritage. Religious heritage belongs to all of us. So let's celebrate it."

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