St Petrock’s secures vital grant

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National Lottery grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund make roof repairs a reality for Timberscombe church.Severe weather, particularly so over the last few years, has made roof repairs an urgent priority for St Petrock’s Church in Timberscombe. The PCC had a shortfall of just over £50,000 to repair and renovate the failing slate roof and other sections of the roof of the Grade 1 Listed church and needed to source additional support from outside the village. The PCC are delighted that a second application to the Heritage Lottery Fund has proved successful with the recent confirmation of support for the balance of the cost. This support is entirely made possible by National Lottery players. The project will secure and make watertight an important mediaeval building and will enable a variety of heritage activities to take place within the church which will continue to remain open every day to visitors throughout the repair work. This is expected to start early in the new year, or as soon as weather permits.
Volunteers will make sure the restoration is recorded photographically and the opportunity will be taken to train further volunteers in skills to record and develop a church digital archive and carry out a local oral history project. There will be a number of opportunities for volunteers to get involved including the development of a village walking trail and a Dunster Benefice linked churches walking trail, with an emphasis on making this accessible for families and children and for developing inter-generational links. The work which is made possible by the Heritage Lottery Fund will run alongside and allow current fundraising by the PCC to continue to provide an accessible toilet and servery within the church and allow further community benefit. This will help develop St Petrock’s as an important community hub and meeting place as well as continuing to provide a place of worship for the future.
The building is a key historical focus in Timberscombe with parts dating back to the fourteenth century and two significant wall paintings, one uncovered only five years ago. The rare carved wooden rood screen dates from the 1500s and the tower was built in the early 1700s by a local benefactor, Richard Elsworth, who also endowed the village school. Since 1925 the church has had a peal of eight bells, unusual in a village church, which peal regularly through the work of a committed team of village bellringers and last Sunday took part in the Armistice Day Ringing.
With the benefit of a sound roof and facilities it will be possible to restore the church to a place of meaningful access for all the community who can meet and take part in activities for all ages and avoid rural isolation and loneliness.
Churchwarden John Gratton summed up the fantastic opportunity that the HLF grant will provide ‘It is such a relief to have the support of the HLF. The PCC have been working hard to fundraise to provide modern facilities within the church to make it accessible to a wider range of people but we were aware of the need to find money for an essential roof project as well, which was simply more than our community could raise. We are deeply grateful to all National Lottery players who are helping to make our vision for an accessible and welcoming historic church an exciting reality. The church is a step closer to preserving an important local asset and making it relevant for all visitors in the future.’
If you would like to volunteer and be involved in the programme of community heritage events the PCC would be delighted to hear from you. Please contact Marion Jeffrey 01643 841500 marion@j-mail.org or John Gratton 01643 841490 or any member of the PCC.

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