Following an architectural survey of the Church, it was identified that the thatched roof required urgent attention as soon as possible to prevent potential water damage. A Master Thatcher then undertook a detailed inspection which confirmed that the entire existing thatch had reached the end of its useful life. Consequently, Caston Parochial Church Council (PCC) immediately recognised that very significant funding was required and so approached the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for financial support for the re-thatching and growing of the church.
Last year, thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the HLF provided initial funding of £29,500 to help Caston PCC progress their plans to apply for a full grant at a later date. This enabled the PCC to appoint a specialist architect and to perform a wide number of surveys and inspections to assess the full extent of the works needed, costs involved and proposed timetable. This work was completed in accordance with the agreed timescale and allowed the PCC to submit a much larger bid to HLF to complete all the necessary works.
Caston PCC are delighted to announce that the HLF have awarded a further National Lottery grant of £220,500 (thus a total for both stages of the project of £250,000) which means that the re-thatching of the Church with Norfolk reed will occur during 2018 thus securing the Church for future generations.
Holy Cross Church is a Grade 1 listed building situated within a conservation area, on the edge of the village green and is built of flint with stone quoins (blocks) and dressings. The earliest mention of a Church in Caston is in a document of 1218, but it is likely that there was one on this site earlier. It is one of only two thatched churches remaining in the Breckland area of Norfolk.
Graham Penfold, a Churchwarden of the PCC said: “We are absolutely delighted and thrilled to learn that the HLF has given us this amazing level of support. Our much loved thatched Church is one of the main focuses within the village and as stewards; we are keen to leave the fabric in the best possible state for future generations to enjoy. Without this very generous funding made possible by National Lottery players, there was a very real and high risk of water damage to the interior which will now be prevented. For the first time ever, it will also allow for a mains water supply, the provision of a kitchenette and facilitate a wide range of community projects including involving the children of CofE Caston School in thatching lessons, the creation of the first children’s guide to the Church and the design of a prayer centre for the community.”
Explaining the importance of the HLF support, Robyn Llewellyn, Head of HLF East of England said, “We’re delighted to be able to continue our support for the restoration of Holy Cross Church and help to secure this important local building for future generations. Thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, the Church will be able to carry out urgent repairs to its roof and share its heritage with a wider audience.”