Windows to the World

Church building repairs and heritage interpretation project secures £320,500 National Lottery support.

11th June 2019 Heritage

In June 2019 St Mary’s Parish Church, Barnard Castle and DigVentures received a National Lottery Heritage Fund grant of £320,500 for their Windows to the World partnership project. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project focuses on urgent repairs and conservation to the historic church building, as well as an exciting heritage interpretation project.

Supported through The National Lottery Heritage Fund, essential conservation work to the walls, tower and stained glass windows of the 900 year old parish church will be carried out next year. The church has important links with Richard lll and the project has received financial support from The Richard lll Society.

The church’s partners in the project, Barnard Castle based archaeologists DigVentures, will run a project to involve the wider community in the heritage of the church building and its place in local history, engaging the wider community in other aspects of the intertwined history of the town and the church. There will be plenty of scope for the community to become involved through talks, workshops and volunteering.

The grant follows on from a previous award of £17,100 last year, which has enabled the church and DigVentures to develop detailed plans for this joint project.

The overall cost of the project will be £400,000. As well as the support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the cost will be met from church funds, as well as grants from The Richard lll Society and from the Friends of St Mary’s. Further Government grants will enable the cost of some of the VAT to be met.

Alec Harding, vicar of St Mary’s, welcomed the support for the project from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Announcing the grant, he said

“The award of this grant enables us to carry out urgently needed church restoration works and opens up new ways for the church to engage with the local community. When these works are completed next year, the church will be weathertight for future generations and we hope that we will have created a community of all ages who will have a long term interest in this historic building.”

Lisa Westcott Wilkins from DigVentures added:

“We are really excited to have the opportunity to help St Mary’s with this project. We’re looking forward to adding new opportunities for the church as a heritage destination in the already strong cultural mix of Barnard Castle, as well as involving the local community in many new and exciting activities.”

David Renwick, Area Director for the North, National Lottery Heritage Fund, said:

“We are delighted to support this wonderful project at St Mary’s Church, Barnard Castle, which, thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, will mean that more people will be able to get involved with, protect, and learn about the exciting heritage right on their doorstep.”

Notes for Editors

About St Mary’s Parish Church
We are the only Anglican church in Barnard Castle. The church is open for all every day of the year. The church is Grade 1 listed and parts of the building date from the early 12th century. Richard lll spent time in Barnard Castle and had improvements made to the church. There is a figurehead of him as Duke of Gloucester in the church and a carved stone boar, his mark, on an outside wall.

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About DigVentures
Founded in 2012, DigVentures is a social enterprise committed to developing and delivering collaborative archaeology projects. Headquartered in Barnard Castle, we have regional offices in the North West (Burnley), Scotland (Glasgow) Midlands (Lincoln), and London.

The DV team comprises field archaeologists, community engagement experts and specialists in digital technologies, focused on enabling citizen participation in archaeological and heritage activities.

Follow us on on Twitter @TheDigVenturers

About the National Lottery Heritage Fund
Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.

Follow @HeritageFundUK on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #NationalLotteryHeritageFund

Further Information
For further information, images and interviews please contact:

  • Rev Canon Alec Harding, vicar of St Mary’s Parish Church on 01833 637018
  • Robert Stenlake, Project leader, at St Mary’s Parish Church on 01833 637334 and
  • Lisa Westcott Wilkins at DigVentures on or 07787 188184

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