Worshippers raising money to urgently repair a church roof have been given a boost from a special fund.
St. Mary’s Church at Horsham, the oldest existing building in the town, has been given a grant of £59,300 from the Listed Places of Worship: Roof Repair Fund towards the expected £600,000 cost of carrying out urgent repairs.
The grant requires match funding by St. Mary’s to cover the cost of the essential repairs.
In recent months it has been necessary to place buckets inside the building to collect water leaking through the roof. Church leaders say the roof repair work must be executed promptly in order to prevent further damage to the fabric of the building.
The church said: “St. Mary’s Church is grateful to have been awarded the grant, but is well aware that the money will only cover a proportion of the most urgent repair work to the roof.
“A significant roof restoration project, in the region of £600,000, is proposed for major maintenance and repair work to the fine Horsham Stone roof on this Grade 1 listed building.
“The Church roof is beautiful, a treasure created by the artistry and craftsmanship of our forefathers that needs to be preserved for the future generations of the people of Horsham.
“St. Mary’s Church has already started to raise funds and a recent, very popular, Flower Festival raised over £4,000 towards the appeal.
“The church would value the financial support from all those who cherish the wonderful building of St. Mary’s and if you would like to find out more, or donate to the appeal, then please go to the Church website for more information.”
The church, full name the Church of St. Mary the Virgin is the oldest existing building in Horsham. It has been associated with the life and worship of the community and in continuous use for nearly 800 years.
A Norman church once stood on the spot of the present church and some remains are in the tower, the west door and the north- west wall. A new church dedicated to St. Mary the Virgin, was completed in about 1247, when Horsham was a rapidly expanding market town. Over the centuries residents have worked to maintain and enrich the church and the latest project is meant to preserve the church for future generations.