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Rare medieval shrine restored at Worksop Priory Gatehouse

One of the finest medieval buildings on the East Midlands' Heritage at Risk Register is being restored to its former glory.

Worksop Priory was once one of Nottinghamshire's wealthiest monastic houses. The gatehouse is one of only two survivors of its kind in England: a walkthrough shrine. As at the other surviving example in Canterbury, pilgrims would enter one side, kneel to pray before an altar, and leave on the other.

The Augustinian church and gatehouse survived the 16th century Dissolution of the Monasteries. But by 1998 weather and decay were taking their toll, and the gatehouse and cloister wall were identified as buildings at risk.

Now repairs to shrine masonry and roof have been completed, the exquisite vaulted ceiling and the decoration (shown below before restoration) have been restored.

Ceiling of the walkthrough shrine at Worksop Priory, mid 14th century
Ceiling of the walkthrough shrine at Worksop Priory, mid 14th century © Historic England

The rescue partners

The work was made possible by funding from Historic England and local authorities, and support to the Worksop Priory and Gatehouse Community Trust from the Prince's Regeneration Trust.

The shrine is now occasionally open so that we can all once more admire its intimate jewel-like interior.

Follow us on Twitter @HE_EastMids for updates to this and other projects we're funding.

Northern elevation of the gatehouse at Worksop Priory, early 14th century
Northern elevation of the gatehouse at Worksop Priory, early 14th century © Historic England

Apethorpe Palace: the ultimate country house rescue

Apethorpe Palace is one of England's foremost country houses, with a strong royal pedigree. It was saved from decay between 2004 and 2014, and is now secure in the hands of a new owner. This rescue forms an important chapter in the long and illustrious history of the house, chronicled in a new book. Its publication marks the culmination of one of Historic England's most ambitious projects to date.

New book documents Apethorpe's history and rescue

Apethorpe: The story of an English country house is written by Historic England staff involved in the rescue. It reveals how the house grew and evolved as a home of courtiers, politicians and aristocrats from the mid-15th century, and how it became a favoured haunt of several English monarchs. In the second half of the 20th century the condition of the building deteriorated to such an extent that, in 1998, it was declared a Building at Risk.

Occasionally, when heritage of the highest national importance is under threat and there is no-one else to step in, Historic England is the only public body that can act to save it. Apethorpe has been just such a case.

The book presents what the authors discovered about the history, materials, layout and decoration of the house, to inform the ambitious programme of repair. The opportunity was even taken to find new ways to produce traditional Collyweston roofing stone, the extraction of which had virtually dried up.

Open to the public 50 days per year

The new owner of Apethorpe Palace is committed to the full restoration of the property. The house is open for pre-arranged tours on 50 days a year, and these can be booked through English Heritage, the charity now arranging access on our behalf.

The photograph below shows the roof timbers, exposed during repairs in 2007. It has been uploaded to the list entry for Apethorpe Palace by Paul Adams as part of Historic England's Enriching the List scheme.

Exposed roof timbers at Apethorpe Palace
The roof timbers at Apethorpe Palace, exposed during repairs in 2007

Help us uncover the East Midlands' hidden history

Across the country Historic England is crowdsourcing knowledge and photographs for the official list of the nation's 400,000 most significant historic places. This is the first time in history the list has been opened up for public contributions and your chance to get involved!

Here in the East Midlands we are asking you to share your images and information to discover the hidden history of the East Midlands.

Some 99% of people in England live within a mile of a listed building or place and you can discover your nearest by searching the list using a postcode - with over 30,000 in the East Midlands there is bound to be one near you! By sharing your photos, old or new, and by telling the story of the people and events which have shaped the places we live in, you'll be part of a growing community of people getting involved in their local heritage.

You can see an example of a list description with a contribution on the entry for the memorial to Albert Ball at Nottingham Castle. He was Britain's most highly decorated fighter pilot and something of a national celebrity during the First World War. He died in a crash in 1917, aged 20, with 44 victories to his name.

Once you've added your contribution to a listing please do let us know. You can share your entries with us on Twitter @HE_EastMids where you can also keep up to date with all the latest news and pictures from the region.

Enriching the list infographic - 5474 barrows, 7 bunkers
The 400,000 most significant historic sites on the List include all kinds of places, from palaces to pigsties © Historic England

Managing historic places of worship: 24 November 2016 in Derby

Are you a volunteer looking after a listed church or other place of worship? Do you wonder how to adapt it for the 21st century, or keep it in good repair? Would you like to get help from heritage experts and your fellow volunteers?

If so 'Managing historic places of worship' is for you. It takes place 10.00am-4.00pm at St Peter's church, Derby on Thursday 24 November. The day is designed especially for church officers and volunteers responsible for the fabric of a listed building.

Some of the East Midlands' key advisers will be on hand to help you think through your plans for maintaining, repairing, developing and adapting your building - finding solutions which help you sustain and enhance it.

Reserve your place online today or call 01949 869135. Similar courses in Historic England's HELM series are being held on 20 October in Bury St Edmunds and 3 November in Newcastle.

New extension at St Anne’s Church, Beeley, Derbyshire.
New extension at St Anne’s Church, Beeley, Derbyshire © Historic England

Training opportunities coming up in the East Midlands

Historic Environment Local Management (HELM) training courses are free to attend for staff of local authorities and regional and national organisations.

Upcoming training opportunities in the East Midlands include the following:

  • Managing historic places of worship
    Share and discuss best practice and the policy context for the sustainable management of places of worship.
    24 November 2016
  • Understanding archaeology for planners
    An introduction to archaeology and its role in the planning process. Aimed at planners, this will enable you to collaborate more effectively with heritage professionals.
    26 January 2017
  • Conservation Area management
    Learn about the important role of a conservation area survey, and how it can be used to underpin management priorities at a local level.
    2 March 2017

For more information on any HELM course contact the training delivery team on

Find out more about HELM opportunities across the country.

Follow us on Twitter @HE_EastMids to keep up to date with all the latest training opportunities, news and pictures from the region.

Participants studying the urban form of historic Lincoln
Participants studying the urban form of historic Lincoln © Historic England
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Windsor House, Historic England's East Midlands office.
East Midlands Local Office

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