Grant for key work to take place at church

Members of Kirkwhelpington with Kirkharle and Kirkheaton Parochial Church Council inspect damaged pillars in the church. Picture by Janusz Ostrowski.
Members of Kirkwhelpington with Kirkharle and Kirkheaton Parochial Church Council inspect damaged pillars in the church. Picture by Janusz Ostrowski.

Essential restoration work will be carried out at St Wilfrid’s Church in Kirkharle, which was consecrated in the 14th century and saved from ruin in the early 15th century, thanks to a National Lottery grant of more than £90,000.

The building has many interesting features such as the Irish oak timbered chancel, installed in the 18th century by Thomas Loraine.

Despite sterling fund-raising efforts by its small 21st century congregation, there has never been sufficient means to repair major problems such as the failed heating system – allowing damp to spread the disfiguring algal stains – salt damage and general depreciation of masonry around windows and buttresses.

Following a quinquennial inspection, the Kirkwhelpington with Kirkharle and Kirkheaton Parochial Church Council sought expert advice on the work required and applied to the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The funding application was successful and the recent grant of £90,200, supported by help from the Community Foundation, All Churches Trust and Northumberland Historic Churches, means the essential works can start later this year.

St Wilfrid’s vicar, Rev Jonathan Mason, said: “This support is a vital lifeline, which will enable us to keep the church warm and welcoming and the building sound.

“In turn, it means we can hold services throughout the year and stage more fund-raising events, such as concerts and talks, attracting a wider audience beyond the immediate local community.”