St Gregory the Great Roman Catholic Church, Cheltenham

When it opened in 1810, St Gregory the Great was the first Roman Catholic church in Cheltenham since the Reformation.

Over the last 200 years, it has undergone numerous renovations including a large project to restore the spire and tower in the early 2000s.

Today, the congregation is made up of people from British, Polish, South Indian and Filipino backgrounds with up to 1,000 attending weekend Mass and up to 70 turning out for daily Mass.

Listed Grade II*, St Gregory’s is badly in need of sensitive conservation and repair to remedy the ill-effects of an extensive 1977 redecoration. It was during this time that the nave, crossing and transept ceilings were applied with hardboard and a polystyrene insulation and garish orange lighting was installed. Not only are these materials a fire risk, they have hidden the original and very beautiful scissor braced roof for more than 40 years.

An Allchurches Trust grant is helping to uncover intricate stencilled decoration last visible in photographs from the 1950s but now lying hidden beneath two layers of modern paint.

It will also address areas where the plaster is beginning to crack as mould seeps underneath. Improved lighting will complement the newly exposed ceiling and reveal the church in all its original glory.