Early Christmas present means the roof will no longer leak at historic Oxfordshire church

ST MARY the Virgin church, Buckland, has received a £10,000 funding boost for vital roof repairs.

The repair grant is an early Christmas present for Grade 1 listed building. Once the repairs are carried out, St Mary the Virgin will be removed from the Historic England At Risk Register.

The church is one of 93 churches and chapels in England, Wales and Scotland set to benefit from rescue funding of £680,230 from the National Churches Trust, the UK’s church support charity. It is one of only 2.5 percent of UK listed buildings that are classified as Grade 1, which means they are of ‘exceptional’ interest.

The roof of St Mary the Virgin currently leaks and the urgent repairs will make it watertight – and safe. After the roof has been repaired, the next project is to improve the heating which is conspicuously poor for a large church. As a result, old people and the very young children do not attend the church in winter.

Huw Edwards, broadcaster, journalist and the Vice-President of the National Churches Trust.

The Revd Talisker Tracey-MacLeod, the Rector of the Cherbury with Gainfield Benefice, which includes St Mary the Virgin, said: “The ancient church of St Mary the Virgin is at the heart of this small, rural Oxfordshire village and is loved and valued by the community. Our fundraising efforts to re-roof this church have involved the entire village community and many people from the wider benefice.”

“The PCC is very grateful to the National Churches Trust and to other grant-making bodies whose generous contributions have made this huge re-roofing project possible for this church, and have helped us to ensure we can hand it on to future generations.”

There has been a church on the site of St Mary the Virgin in Buckland since before the Domesday Book. The church has a 12th century Norman nave while the chancel, tower and transepts are 13th century. The Yate and Throckmorton Catholic families from the adjacent Buckland Manor regarded the north transept as their family chapel, and the church had a Catholic patron until 1910.

The tower houses eight bells, some of which date back to the 17th century. Bell ringers encourage the faithful to come to church and they are much in demand at weddings.

Huw Edwards, Broadcaster and Journalist and Vice-President of the National Churches Trust said:

“I’m delighted that St Mary the Virgin church in Buckland is to be saved for the future with the help of a £10,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant.” This will help ensure that this church, rich in architectural details and packed with local history, remains open and at the service of local people.”

Photo: St Mary the Virgin Church, Buckland (The National Churches Trust)