St Botolph’s (Boston Stump) has received a funding boost in time for Christmas in the shape of a £40,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant to help fund urgent repairs to the tower roof and clock and to refurbish the kitchen. The church is one of 93 churches and chapels in England, Wales and Scotland set to benefit from rescue funding of £680,230 from the National Churches Trust, the UK’s church support charity.
Huw Edwards, Broadcaster and Journalist and Vice-President of the National Churches Trust said:
“At the heart of communities in cities, towns and villages, churches are a treasure trove of architecture, history and faith.”
“I’m delighted that St Botolph’s church, is to be have major repair work carried out to its tower with the help of a £40,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant.”
“This will help ensure that this historic church, which is extensively used for worship and community activities, will be removed from the Historic England At Risk Register remains open and attract new visitors to experience its architecture and priceless heritage. “
St Botolph’s church has previously received funding in 2009 and 2011 totalling grants of £65,000 from the National Churches Trust for urgent repairs.
The repair project is focused on restoration of the church’s tower. This will include replacement of the lead belfry roof and the wooden platform at the top of the lantern tower which are both in extremely poor condition. It will also involve restoration work to the west face of the tower which is the last remaining face where significant restoration has yet to take place in recent years.
The work will allow the building to be removed from Historic England’s Heritage at Risk register.
It may allow the church to reopen areas of the tower beyond the first balcony that are currently closed due to health and safety concerns. More broadly the repair work will safeguard and protect the historic fabric for generations to come, to allow visitors to enjoy the fabulous views from the tower and for the church to continue to act as a beacon, as it has for centuries over the flat fenland countryside of south Lincolnshire.
While not all parts of the church will be accessible when repairs are ongoing, the church hopes to offer workshops and to teach people about what is happening, looking at how the tower was originally constructed and at skills such as stonemasonry, including hard hat tours during the restoration work so that people can see up close what is going on.
When complete, the project will draw in significant numbers of new visitors thanks to the redevelopment work in the church, the new facilities and interpretation.
The works are planned to be complete to coincide with the international celebrations commemorating the 400th anniversary of the voyage of the Mayflower which should draw significant attention.
Grade I listed, St Botolph’s Church in Boston, Lincolnshire, better known as ‘Boston Stump’, is the largest and one of the most significant historic churches in the country. It is spectacular from the outside and is described by Pevsner as a ‘giant among English Parish churches’. Boston Stump has always been a landmark to both seafarers and people travelling across the flat fenland that surrounds the town. Over its 700 years the church has played its part in both national and international history. It will be forever linked with the Puritan emigrants who in 1630 followed in the wake of the Pilgrim Fathers and founded a new Boston in the United States of America.
As the church has the largest performance space in the area (it can seat 1,200 people), it has been expanding its concert and events programme and installed a new shop and better facilities to enable these activities to grow and to better welcome visitors. The building has been used for English Language classes for the local Eastern European community and as a meeting space for community groups.
Rev Alyson Buxton, Team Rector, said:
‘’We are absolutely delighted to receive this significant grant which will help safeguard the tower of one of the most iconic buildings in the country for generations to come. Our thanks and gratitude go to the National Churches Trust for their generosity.’’