Fotheringhay Church’s fundraising appeal for urgent repairs was officially launched by HRH The Duke of Gloucester last night.
The Grade I listed building needs £500,000 worth of work to repair the roof and windows, as well as providing a water supply, heating and disabled access.
A mammoth effort has seen £217,000 already raised, and the Duke has urged more people to come forward and help the appeal.
He said: “As a nation we are fortunate to have so many historic buildings and this church is exceptional.
“You only have to see the way it looks and it has one of the finest steeples in the county.
“This is at the heart of the community and I urge individuals to contribute in saving this part of our heritage.”
The church is steeped in history with King Richard III born there in 1452 and his father, mother and brother all entombed there.
Mary, Queen of Scots, was imprisoned in the nearby castle and executed there in 1587.
Chairman of the project group Ros Clayton added: “The roof is the priority and we need to make the church weatherproof.
“This is a very small village with only about 110 people living here.
“The people here are really driving the fundraiser and we’ve nearly raised half of the money needed.”
The launch was kicked off by a string ensemble from Oundle School, before a welcome by Lady Victoria Leatham.
She said: “I am honoured to be here and touched by the efforts to boost the support of the appeal.
“This is a seriously daunting challenge but one that will be worth it in the end.
“This site has thousands of visitors and we must work to preserve this church.”
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