Historic church saved by Heritage Lottery windfall

Reverend Sharon Constable and St Bartholomews Church members celebrate receiving the lottery grant EMN-150603-103602001
Reverend Sharon Constable and St Bartholomews Church members celebrate receiving the lottery grant EMN-150603-103602001
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One of Melton borough’s oldest churches may have had to close if members had not secured £140,100 in Heritage Lottery funding, according to the team vicar responsible for it.

Rev Sharon Constable is now confident St Bartholomew’s at Welby has a bright future after the money has paid for the building to be part-converted into a heritage centre dedicated to the lost Medieval village which once thrived there.

Some of the grant will also be used tocarry out essential repairs to the fabric of the church, which dates from 1180, include a complete overhaul of the roof.

Rev Constable said: “I am absolutely delighted that we managed to get this grant.

“The future of the church would have been in jeopardy because there are things in the building which need doing urgently.

“The roof is deteriorating, in particular, and we can now go ahead and put this right.”

Welby was once the most important settlement in Melton, boasting a monastic grange, a manor house and many homes.

But most residents were forced to leave their properties in the 1500s by Lord of the Manor, William Digby.

An historic bronze age hoard was discovered on the site in 1875.

Information packs are being put together for schoolchildren and historians to study at the church when the work is completed.

Work is expected to start after Easter and to take between six and nine months.

Nearby St Leonard’s Church at Sysonby will host services in the meantime.