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St Peter's Church, Forncett

Help us save Forncett St Peter’s Church

Forncett St Peter Church Sept 2019 D KirkPhoto: David Kirk

The Problems
This beautiful Grade 1 listed building has been central to life in the Forncetts since Saxon times. Now it is in desperate need of major repairs and renovations. Most important is the need to make the building watertight – extensive areas need re-roofing, failing lead work needs replacing and faulty gutters, down-pipes and surface drains need repair / replacement. Structural deterioration and cracking of external stone and flint-work has meant that areas of the churchyard have had to be cordoned off incase of falling masonry. Windows, cracked internal masonry, collapsing floor surfaces and areas of death-watch beetle all pose major challenges. The wonderful 15th century Drakes Tomb is suffering from cracking and discolouration. Once the structural work has been completed redecoration will be essential and the remarkable set of carved pew ends can be repaired.

Toilet and kitchen facilities are non-existent and the very limited heating means the church is too cold for services or community use during the winter. This is the ideal opportunity to provide these basic requirements, which will bring the church back into the centre of our life and improve it’s accessibility to visitors. We will be at pains to make changes sensitive to the historic importance of the building and its wonderful spirit of calm and peace.

Current toilet facilities at St Peters Photo A RaePhoto: A Rae

The Plan

£750,000 is estimated (April 2020) as the combined cost of repairs and improvements. This is an eye-watering amount for a small village to raise.  The Friends of St Peter’s have been set up to spearhead the work, both of fund-raising and involving the local community.
We will be making grant applications including a major National Lottery Heritage Fund Grant (NLHF), as well as raising funds through other Grants, Events, Donations and developing collaborations with other interest groups, such as Round Tower Churches Society.
An on-line giving campaign will also be started to appeal to potential supporters world-wide.

Progress

June 2020   Church remains closed until plasterwork can be assessed and stabilized and Covid 19 restrictions eased
    NLHF Grant Expression of Interest delayed due to NLHF giving priority to Corona virus related emergency projects
    Enabling Works identified; Project Architect requests specialist reports
     Community questionaire to highlight how local people would like the building to be used in future
     
May 2020   Planning continues with Project Schedule, grant applications and developing a publicity campaign despite Corona Virus lockdown
     
 March 2020   Church closed and all fund-raising events postponed due to Corona Virus
    Project Architect appointed
     
February 2020   Large area of plaster falls off the inside of the nave wall; church closed awaiting analysis and stabilisation.
     
January 2020   Diocesan Advisory Committee team visit St Peter’s to discuss proposed works and contractor access
     
December 2019   Essential work to make the building watertight is completed.
     
November 2019   Norfolk Churches Trust awards grant of £1,000 for urgent repairs
     
 October 2019   Friends of St Peter’s Church is inaugurated.
£1,125 raised as a result of the first meeting