13th century Norfolk church to be restored following lottery grant

St Nicholas Church in Wells-next-the-Sea has been awarded a £286,100 National Lottery Heritage Fund Grant.

St Nicholas Church in Wells-next-the-Sea has been awarded a £286,100 National Lottery Heritage Fund Grant. - Credit: Brenda Stewart

A Norfolk church will not only be restored but improved after it secured a National Lottery grant.

The St Nicholas Church in Wells-next-the-Sea has been awarded a £286,100 National Lottery Heritage Fund Grant for restoration work and to deliver a range of new activities.

The project will also safeguard the building, which is on Historic England’s ‘Heritage At Risk Register’.

The grant will be overseen by the Wells Parochial Church Council, an elected body responsible for the day to day running of the Grade II building situated in the central conservation area.

Working with key partners to establish St Nicholas as a heritage and well-being hub for the town, the funding will deliver new activities such as a Heritage Detective Trail and a new well-being conservation area within the churchyard in partnership with the Norfolk Wildlife Trust.

They will also deliver innovative activities, including a new interpretive scheme exploring the heritage of the building and its churchyards.

Rev Brenda Stewart said: “We’re delighted that we’ve received this support and would like to say a huge thanks to National Lottery players.

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“St Nicholas Church has always been such an important building and it’s great to know that we will now be preserving it for future generations of local people and visitors to our town.”

The project steering committee

The project steering committee. Left to right: Christine Hiskey, heritage consultant, Jean Terrington, project manager, Peter Terrington, fabric Officer, Margaret Sheppard, Church Warden, Alison Bowles, eco consultant, Rev Brenda Stewart, Rector, Simon Daykin, Wells Maltings manager, Kate Clodd, Church Warden. - Credit: Brenda Stewart

The scheme will also link to and support the popular Heritage Centre at Wells Maltings and will deliver public events such as heritage well-being days in partnership with Wells Community Hospital Trust, and conservation skills days where people will be able to meet the project team to learn about the conservation skills used to restore both the building and churchyard.

They also hope to reduce the building’s carbon footprint by installing secondary glazing to some windows and introducing a cycle stand in the churchyard to encourage visitors to cycle to the church.

Originally built in the 13th century, with a large scale restoration taking place around 1460, it was destroyed by a devastating fire in 1879. The medieval tower, most of the external walls and the south porch survived the fire and the church was re-built in 1883.

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