St Michael’s Church in Offham has received £8,500 of initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the church’s restoration and renewal project. The Grade I listed parish church needs significant repairs which this funding will help to fund. The church has already raised £7,500 towards the work.
The project aims to carry out essential repairs to the church’s walls; repair the roof and replace all of the guttering to prevent water further damaging the building. It also hopes to make the building more available to the local community by encouraging visitor and housing a new education programme for local schools. Once repairs are completed, the church hopes to develop the project by providing new facilities to better meet the needs of young and old.
The local Priest-in-Charge, Rev David Green, said: “We are delighted that the HLF have confirmed what local people already know really well – that this is a beautiful and atmospheric ancient building that deserves to be preserved and enjoyed not only by the local worshipping community, but by the whole of our village and the wider world.”
The HLF’s development grant will enable the church to commission a detailed study of further work needed, before applying for the full grant later. The total cost of the project will be in the region of £125,000.
The HLF has recognised the importance of the church because it is an almost complete late 11th or early 12th century church with a handful of important architectural features. The church appears in the Textus Roffensis, a document written in 1122, and Offham appears in the Domesday Book of 1086.
Local MP, Tom Tugendhat, said: “St Michael’s Church in Offham is at the centre of a vibrant village. That’s why this Heritage Lottery Funding is important not just for the Church, but for the whole community. For centuries, St Michael’s Church has been synonymous with life in Offham and this grant will help continue the tradition. The fundraising effort of the local church already highlights the importance of this project and I hope that works can get underway as soon as possible”