The Anglican Church in Wakerley, in East Northants, in its prime was a magnificent Grade I listed building due to its prominent internal and external, tower, spire and chancel arch features.
Despite a restoration in 1875, after laying redundant since 1972 and control of the estates falling into the hands of the Churches Conservation Trust in 1974, limited funding has prevented much-needed maintenance works.
The funding, from construction firm Mick George, permitted structural repair to seriously damaged stone walls and the installation of a new gate at the sites entrance, as well as improvements to the perimeter walls, hedges and trees. Keen to ensure that the natural habitat remained largely undisturbed, materials were sourced that were in-keeping with the existing limestone design.
Wakerley Parish Council chairman Dave Allan said: “The grant has allowed us to complete works that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible.
“The churchyard really does look spectacular now, and regular and occasional visitors are making comments to that effect.
“On behalf of the parish and the local community, we extend our thanks to Mick George for their generosity.”
The churchyard sits on the Jurassic Way, an 88-mile walking route which travels the length of Northamptonshire, terminating in Banbury, Oxfordshire, and Stamford, Lincolnshire.
The location is anticipated to attract about 7,500 visitors annually.
Receiving the grant has also galvanised the volunteers who maintain the location to complete their own fundraising activity, for which they have managed to raise enough to purchase a new mower.
Finance director at Mick George Jon Stump said: “Although the church is not functioning, the beautiful surroundings deserve to be preserved, especially when they still entice so many onlookers which have particularly fond memories for differing reasons.
“The village of Wakerley is not too distant from one of our operating sites, and we have always been grateful for the on-going support that local residents have provided to us during that time.”