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Lynford and Yarmouth receive Historic England grants

Two Grade II* listed churches in the Diocese of East Anglia have received nearly half a million pounds of funding for urgent repairs.

St Mary’s Great Yarmouth and Our Lady of Consolation and St Stephen in Lynford are among 17 sites receiving funding from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, which in turn received £2.9m from Historic England for urgent repair programmes. This was part of the second round of funding via the Heritage Stimulus Fund.

Overall, heritage sites across England are to receive a boost of £35m from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund, which is administered on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) by Historic England. 

St Mary’s Great Yarmouth receives £298,132 for roof renewal as part of a project to create ‘a safe haven for 50 nations’. After receiving funding in the first round for re-roofing the chancel and side chapels, St Mary’s was successful once again in gaining funding for the next phase of the project to ensure that this important historic building is watertight and to prevent further deterioration of the significant internal decoration.

The works will remove the existing concrete tile roof coverings from the roofs of the nave and side aisles and replace them with Welsh slate to match that installed on the chancel and side chapels under the Cultural Recovery Capital Works Fund 1.

The church of St Mary was built in 1848-50 by JJ Scoles and is a fine Grade II* listed building in the East Anglian style. Internally it is adorned with several outstanding schemes of decoration which unfortunately have been badly damaged due to water ingress from the leaking roofs.

At the same time, Our Lady of Consolation and St Stephen, Lynford receives £199,956 for urgent repairs. The church is a Henry Clutton masterpiece and is leased to the Norfolk Historic Churches Trust. The application for this project was prepared by the Trust Secretary, Scilla Latham, and architect Ruth Blackman of Birdsall, Swash and Blackman.

The Norfolk Churches Trust was founded in 1976 to provide support to churches of all denominations in the county through grant aid and advice. Over the past 45 years the Trust has awarded grants for urgent repairs to church buildings and their contents of £6.7 million.

Norfolk has the greatest density of medieval churches in the world: 659 in all. The Trust is dedicated to keeping them all open. It also cares for 13 redundant churches leased from the Anglican Diocese of Norwich and the Diocese of East Anglia. Occasional services are held in them. There is more information on the website:

The work proposed work at Lynford focuses on repairing and conserving the deteriorating north parapet and carrying out conservation work to the stone bellcote.  The current condition of the stonework has meant that the church has been closed to the public for more than a year due to safety concerns. The works will mean that the scaffolding can be removed and the church opened to the public once again.

The Church of Our Lady of Consolation and St Stephen at Lynford is one of the most important small Catholic churches in East Anglia. It is believed to be the only church in England dedicated both to St Stephen and to Our Lady of Consolation. It was commissioned from the architect Henry Clutton (1819-93) and built in the grounds of Lynford Hall by Yolande Lyne-Stephens, the rich widow of the MP, Stephens Lyne-Stephens.

Pictured above is Our Lady of Consolation and St Stephen in Lynford (image: Scilla Latham) and, below, the roof at St Mary’s Great Yarmouth (image: Brian Lafferty).