Two churches celebrate removal from Heritage Risk Register

Published on: 10th November 2023

work team supporting St Mary's Stottesdon


Two of our many beautiful churches are celebrating this week after being removed from the Heritage at Risk Register.


The register, which is the annual snapshot of the health of the historic environment, revealed that sadly, St Mary’s church Stottesdon was added in 2016 following an inspection, which raised concerns about the condition of its Grade I listed roof, guttering, stonework and surface drainage. St Michael’s, Croft, was also added in 2016 and is often assumed to be owned and managed by the National Trust as it sits within the grounds of the Croft Estate.


For the church and community in Stottesdon, this celebration is the culmination of 8 years of hard work which raised over £400k in funding to complete the necessary renovations.

The repairs on the church building at Stottesdon were funded by a substantial grant -of over £300k- from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, together with valuable contributions from the Shropshire Historic Churches Trust, from the generosity of local parishioners and the ‘in kind’ value of hundreds of hours volunteer effort.


Supporting local teams like St Mary’s, Stottesdon and St Michael’s, Croft is a key part of the work of Lorna Theophilus, Church Building Support Officer, a role supported by Historic England and Herefordshire and Shropshire Historic Churches Trusts.  Lorna supports churches with project management advice, navigating the Faculty system and identifying and applying for funding as well as exploring the heritage of the buildings and how their stories can be told to visitors.  .

Lorna explains: “The work undertaken by the teams at Stottesdon and Croft will help ensure that the buildings continue to serve their congregations, communities and visitors long into the future.  As well as protecting the building fabric, new interpretation and planned heritage open days at Stottesdon will mean the history of the building will be better understood and appreciated by the community and visitors alike”.   


Chris and Clare Tibbits, project leaders for St Mary’s church, Stottesdon said: “We are delighted to see the church building being removed from the Heritage at Risk Register.  We are very grateful for all the support the Heritage Fund and other supporters have given us; the essential funds they provided ensured we could make the necessary repairs to our much loved church and enabled the provision of enhanced, more eco-friendly, heating and lighting, along with new kitchen and serving furniture.  Fundraising continues apace so that we can complete the task with the addition of a much-needed toilet facility.


“The church has been at the heart of our community for almost 1000 years and the building has been transformed to be a much more welcoming place for heritage visitors, for local residents and for our worship community. The church is open every day and in regular use for quiet contemplation or prayer, for historic study and exploration and for weekly Sunday worship.

Once we’ve funded the loo, we are planning a range of new community uses for the building, with Open Days, festival celebrations, craft and genealogy workshops and more.   


We are delighted that this restoration project has helped to secure its use for future generations.”


Three churches across Hereford Diocese, which covers the counties of Herefordshire and South Shropshire as well as some churches which are part of Worcestershire, Powys and Monmouthshire, were removed from the register.  36 churches remain on the register with a further five added to this year’s register bringing the total to 41. 


Lorna concludes: “Looking after our beautiful church buildings continues to be challenging especially where congregations are small.  However, they are a visible sign of God’s love in the landscape and we know that they are appreciated as an important part of the fabric of our communities and our heritage and Stottesdon and Croft have shown what can be achieved.”

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