All Saints' Waterden has received initial support from The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for National Lottery funding to help secure its future.
Development funding of £29,100 has been awarded to South Creake PCC which will enable them to progress their plans to apply for a full grant of £197,500 in summer 2018.
Made possible by National Lottery Players, the project will involve extensive repairs to the church.
Additionally, on land leased by the Holkham Estate, a small car park will be built. Signposts, to make the church easier to find, will be erected, a new guide book and interpretation boards and signs will be created, a marketing campaign run to let more people know about the church, and finally a big party will be thrown at the church so the local community can celebrate the completion of the project and learn out about the history and heritage of this remarkable building.
The Grade II* Listed Anglo-Saxon church of All Saints Waterden, which is over 1000 years old, is located very remotely out in the fields 1½ miles east of South Creake. The village of Waterden disappeared some 400 years ago but the church remains open as a place of Christian worship and a destination for many visitors and pilgrims even though its immediate community is tiny. Eight services are held there each year and the church is always open.
Commenting on this award, Fr Clive Wylie, Rector of Waterden and Vicar of South Creake, said:
“All Saints’ Church is an amazing place at so many levels and I am delighted that, with support from the Heritage Lottery Fund and National Lottery players, we are taking the first steps to secure its future for the next 100 hundred years.
“That it has survived as a living place of Christian prayer and worship when the village it served disappeared some 400 years ago is remarkable. But what is so striking to anyone who visits this ancient church, remote and hidden as it is even by rural Norfolk standards, is its sense of spirituality, simplicity, and peace. We are determined to go on and complete this project so that many more people from the local community and visitors to North Norfolk can enjoy these qualities.”