Lottery grant to restore 14th century tower at St Mary’s

Photo: George Sainsbury

IT was celebration time at St Mary’s Church, Adderbury when it received a £290,400 Heritage Lottery Fund grant for its church tower restoration project.

Work has already started to rebuild the badly damaged eastern parapet, re-lead the parapet gutters, replace gargoyles, repair the belfry louvres, repair the carved frieze and redecorate the clock faces.

Children from nearby Christopher Rawlins Church of England Primary School are designing replacement gargoyles and an architect has given them a talk about the project.

The tower, with its distinctive clock faces and tall octagonal spire, has been a focal point for the village community since it was added as part of the 14th century rebuilding of the church. It reaches 150ft into the sky and is visible for miles around. The church has an active congregation and the building is used for services, weddings, christening, funerals, bell-ringing and choral activities as well as school and village events including concerts, markets and festivals benefiting the village and wider community. St. Mary’s is home to the Adderbury Ensemble.

The £400,000 project has been funded by the lottery grant as well as events organised by Friends of St Mary’s Adderbury (FOSMA).   These have included Jazz in the Garden, a Christmas tree festival, and concerts. Grants were also received from the Oxford Historic Churches Trust, Church Care, Society of Antiqua, Adderbury Parish Council, Adderbury Education and Banbury Charities.

The Vicar of St Mary’s Church Adderbury, the Revd Stephen Fletcher, said: “We are delighted that we have received this support thanks to National Lottery players. The restoration work will ensure the tower is no longer at risk and preserved for generations to come.”

Keith Learoyd, from Stone Edge, the restoration company carrying out the work,  said: “The team is delighted to be carrying out the work at this fascinating medieval church.  It’s a privilege to be working in such a historic setting, surrounded by the wonderful carvings.”