Christmas funding boost for Berkshire church

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A rural Berkshire church will be celebrating this Christmas as the National Churches Trust has confirmed a grant of £15,000.

The money is a contribution to the cost of roof repairs and structural maintenance at the Grade  II* listed St James Church, Leckhampstead. This means the church, currently on the Historic

England ‘At Risk Register’ will be watertight and its historic fabric will be preserved. It is the latest grant towards a £180,000 appeal launched in June 2018 for the vital work.

St James, Leckhampstead.

St James, Leckhampstead.

Ian Brown and Michelle Martin, churchwardens said: “We are thrilled to receive this grant as it completes out fundraising project and enables us to commence the works in March next year. We are so grateful for the National Churches Trust‘s support which will secure the future of our beautiful church.”

Keith Powell, fundraising chairman at St James, added:  “We could not have achieved our target in such a short period of time without the fantastic support that we have received from so many in the village and beyond. In particular, we would like to thank the Village Hall Committee for their support. We are also immensely grateful to the trusts and foundations who kindly gave donations, without which our target would have been so much further away. So, on behalf of the fundraising committee, I would like to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported us
over the last 18 months. Reaching our target would not have been possible without you.”

St James church is in the North Wessex Downs and is located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The present building was designed in brick and flint by Samuel Sanders Teulon, whose style was a High Victorian style known as Modern Gothic.

The first historical record of a church dates from 815AD as Leckhamstede and later Lecanestede in the Domesday Book 12th Century.  A Norman font installed in St Edmund’s Church was moved to St James’s in 1859 -1860.  St James also contains artefacts such as an 11th Century font, a 14th Century bell, a Jacobean pulpit and Georgian altar rails.

Broadcaster and journalist Huw Edwards, Vice President of The National Churches Trust, said: “The UK’s historic churches and chapels are a vital part of our national heritage. But to survive, many need to carry out urgent repairs and install modern facilities. The cost of this work is far beyond what most congregations can pay for themselves. I’m delighted that the St James church, Leckhampstead, is being helped with a £15,000 National Churches Trust Cornerstone Grant.”

63 churches and chapels in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will benefit from the latest grants from the National Churches Trust, the charity supporting church buildings of all Christian denominations across the UK.

In 2019, the Trust distributed over £1.2 million to help churches and chapels tackle urgent repairs, maintenance work and install modern facilities such as kitchens and toilets.
A wide range of grants from the National Churches Trust will be available to help places of worship in 2020.