A celebration of craftsmanship and space for spiritual succour
12 MAY 2020
A Medieval church undergoes restoration to make it more accessible for the community, as a place of spiritual refreshment.
St Andrew’s Church, Great Ryburgh is a unique building at the entrance of a Norfolk village, with a beautiful Saxon round tower and green surroundings. The church is brimming with history, and considered a sacred space for many of the local community - even those who don’t attend services of worship.
The church is active in the community, offering special services, heritage, cultural and community events. The village has recently enjoyed an influx of new families and is well placed on the Norwich to Walsingham pilgrimage route, but due to lacking toilet facilities and limited parking, the church couldn’t accommodate new growth.
The work begins…
In 2017, Allchurches Trust awarded St Andrew’s a £2,300 church grant towards the development of new facilities, including the restoration of a 1914 boiler room, originally used to provide the gas to light the church. The project was scheduled to start in April 2018, having been in the melting pot for 10 years. Work started on time for the dilapidated boiler room, which has also been tastefully converted into a safe storage space for the churchyard lawnmowers; but unfortunately, the discovery of an underground power cable meant a temporary pause for the toilet facilities.
Fast forward two years, and the project is almost complete! A single craftsman has skilfully constructed most of the extension, using traditional techniques to create a charming building that is in keeping with the church’s heritage. Bricks, tiles, flints and more have been donated and tradesman have taken a lead from the builder and only charged a modest sum for labour. The church is extremely grateful, and a few tiles and a small amount of flooring are all that lies between St Andrew’s and the finished product!
Anne M.C. Prentis, Churchwarden for St Andrew’s Church, said: “As the easing of the virus restriction begins, we will be very dependent on the handwashing facilities in a way we had not envisaged when we originally applied for the grant. We are now well placed to welcome the community back as soon as it is safe to do so. We look forward to socially distanced hospitality. None of this would have been possible without the generosity of our grant givers, so a heartfelt thanks from all at St. Andrew’s!”
Chloe Ewen, Grants Officer for Allchurches Trust, said: “We’re delighted to support the renovation of this historic church, which is the heart of Great Ryburgh. The craftsmanship is beautiful and the community will see a huge benefit from the additional parking, space and toilet facilities.”