A much-loved Beddington church is to share in a £584,000 funding payout from the National Churches Trust. 

A £10,000 National Churches Trust Cornerstone Grant will help fund urgent repairs to the tower of St Mary the Virgin and keep the Grade II* Listed church at the heart of the local community. The funding will help remove the church from the Historic England Heritage at Risk register.

The church also receives a £4,000 Wolfson Fabric Repair Grant from the Wolfson Foundation on the recommendation of the National Churches Trust.

Broadcaster and journalist Huw Edwards, Vice President of The National Churches Trust, said:

“I’m delighted that St Mary the Virgin, Beddington, a church packed with history, is being helped with a £10,000 National Churches Trust Cornerstone Grant and a £4,000 Wolfson Fabric Repair Grant.

“The funding will safeguard unique local heritage, including some amazing stained glass, and help keep the church open and in use for the benefit of local people.”

Paul Ramsbottom, Chief Executive at the Wolfson Foundation, said:

“Churches play a central role in the spiritual life of a community, but they are also an integral, much loved, part of our cultural heritage. We are delighted to be working in partnership with the National Churches Trust on this important programme supporting the preservation of these remarkable and wonderful buildings.”

Latest funding

64 churches and chapels in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland will benefit from the latest grants from the National Churches Trust, the charity supporting church buildings of all Christian denominations across the UK. £134,000 of funding for the grants has been provided by the Wolfson Foundation.

This is the first round of grants made by the National Churches Trust in 2021. Last year the Trust has awarded, or recommended on behalf of other funders, 304 grants amounting to £5.6 million.

The church

St Mary’s church is a flint clad building built in the 14th century. The tower, added in the 15th century, houses a splendid peal of ten bells rung on most Sundays. Ten bell peals are exceptional and cherished.

The church houses a great many features of historic interest: a cabinet inside the building contains a Roman lead coffin marker with Christian symbols, hinting at an early Christian presence in the area.

A 1414 brass dedicated to Phillipa Carew, who died while still a teenager along with 13 of her siblings, is believed to be unique in England. The 15th century chapel contains the tomb of Sir Richard Carew, who died in 1520, and his wife Malyn.

The church is rich in 19th century furnishings, stencilled designs and paintings. The organ screen is an early work of William Morris, decorated with styled fruit and foliage.

St Mary’s is an inclusive church hosting a range of community events and services.

The project

The church is on the Historic England Heritage at Risk Register. The tower is in poor condition, with a risk of falling masonry. The grant will fund repair to the tower roof and stonework, including replacing a fallen gargoyle.