CHRISTCHURCH Priory is set to undergo its next phase of restoration after receiving a government grant of £230,000.
The focus will be on the east end of the Priory Church to fix the stonework, window glass and rainwater drainage of the Lady Chapel. Repairs will also be made to the south nave aisle, south transept and the porch.
The money is a portion of the government’s £1.57bn culture recovery fund, designed to restart construction projects facing extra delays or costs from the pandemic, and boost specialist companies.
The Rev. Canon Charles Stewart said: “The conservation of Christchurch Priory, a major Grade I listed church that dates back to the late 11th century, is an ongoing challenge and responsibility.
“The funding we have received from the culture recovery fund is a wonderful support and encouragement for the next phase of our programme of conservation.”
The church will remain open during the work, within the constraints of pandemic legislation and guidance. It is hoped the Lady Chapel will reopen for worship and visits at the beginning of February next year.
The historic priory is one of 445 heritage organisations across the country to benefit from the pot administered by Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Chief executive of the National Lottery Heritage Fund, Ros Kerslake, added: “It is absolutely right that investing in heritage should be a priority during this crisis, and this support by government is crucial.
“Heritage creates jobs and economic prosperity, is a major driver for tourism and makes our towns, cities and rural areas better places to live. All of this is so important for our wellbeing and will be particularly vital when we start to emerge from this incredibly difficult time.”
Culture secretary Oliver Dowden added: “As a nation it is essential that we preserve our heritage and celebrate and learn from our past.
“This massive support package will protect our shared heritage for future generations, save jobs and help us prepare for a cultural bounce-back post-Covid.”
As reported in the A&T, work to restore the priory’s historic walls finished in October.