Go ahead for church’s major project

Parish priest Fr Peter Stott and Ken Wilson, chairman of the project team, inside the church. Picture by Jane Coltman.
Parish priest Fr Peter Stott and Ken Wilson, chairman of the project team, inside the church. Picture by Jane Coltman.

A church in Morpeth town centre will be able to carry out its major preservation project after receiving a £170,500 grant.

There will be a range of external repairs and creation of new interpretation materials for St Robert’s Church in Oldgate following the award from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Those involved say the scheme will help to raise awareness of the building’s history and importance in the community.

It was given an initial grant of £22,300 from the HLF last year so the team could work on the plans in detail.

This included employing an accredited building conservation surveyor to carry out a detailed inspection at the Grade II-listed Roman Catholic church, which opened in 1850.

The works will involve relaying damaged slate roof coverings, the repair and re-pointing of stonework and an overhaul of the drainage systems and it is intended to deliver a programme of activities that will interest and engage the community.

Chairman of the project team Ken Wilson said: “We’re extremely grateful to receive this funding from the HLF.

“This project is important not only to church goers but the whole community, having provided a focal point for worship, meetings and other group activities for over 160 years.

“It is wonderful to know that the church and its heritage will be preserved for future generations and we’ll also be producing a better guide with more detail about the evolution of the church since it was built.

“This will help make those who don’t go to the church that often more aware of what it has to offer. We’ll also be looking to get some of the town’s schools involved, certainly St Robert’s First School.”

The listing for the church includes high quality Gothic stone architecture in the Early English style.

It shares the site with Collingwood House – the Morpeth home of Vice-Admiral Lord Collingwood, the hero of Trafalgar.