PLASTIC buckets are to get the boot at one of Northumberland’s most historic churches after a cash windfall.
The grade I listed St Cuthbert’s Church in Norham, which was dedicated in 1165, has been awarded £83,000 towards roof repairs, replacing defective timbers and carrying out a bat survey.
Church warden and treasurer Canon Terry Harris said: “St Cuthbert’s is a glorious and historically important building.
“But its wonderful ambience has been somewhat marred during recent rainy spells by the strategically-placed plastic buckets and the congregation is looking forward with eagerness to their removal.”
“This generous grant will go a long way towards making this possible.”
The award has come from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and English Heritage.
The Vicar of St Cuthbert’s, Rob Kelsey, said: “We’re very grateful for this grant offer, which gives a massive boost to our fund-raising efforts. The congregation at St Cuthbert’s takes good care of the church building on behalf of the whole community and we’re determined to ensure that the fabric is well maintained for the benefit of future generations.”
Norham is where St Aidan crossed the River Tweed on his way from Iona to set up a monastery on Lindisfarne.
The first church is believed to have been built at Norham in 830.
It is said that the coffin of St Cuthbert was carried from Lindisfarne to Norham and that the bones of St Ceolwulph, a Northumbrian king who became a monk, were buried in the porch of the first church. Also buried there was Gospatrick, the first Earl of Northumberland.
It is believed that the church and Norham Castle had the same architect.
Here King Edward I arbitrated between various claimants to the Scottish crown and other transactions between the two kingdoms took place in the church.
The 12th Century St Andrew’s Church in Haughton-le-Skerne in County Durham also received £146,000 towards repairs to tower, chancel masonry, nave and chancel roofs and carrying out a bat survey.
Carol Pyrah, North East planning and development regional director at English Heritage, said; “Thanks to the generosity of the Heritage Lottery Fund our historic places of worship still have the vital safety net of the Repair Grants scheme.
“Without it, many brave but struggling congregations would be faced with watching their beloved churches and chapels falling into ruin.“
Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in the North East, Ivor Crowther, said: “Historic places of worship are one of our most treasured cultural assets. They occupy a unique position at the heart of the North East, and are a focus for so many civil and social activities in addition to their central purpose as a place for prayer and contemplation.”