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More Than 30 Historical Sites Across East Midlands Rescued

  • English Heritage reveals latest statistics and action on vulnerable historic sites across the East Midlands.
  • Medieval manor house and magnificent ruins of Crowland Abbey at risk.

A Lincolnshire abbey with some of the finest medieval sculpture to survive anywhere in the country, an 18th century town house in the centre of Northampton, and a medieval manor house in Nottinghamshire are among the vulnerable historic gems added to Heritage at Risk Register for the East Midlands, English Heritage announced today.

Roman Newport Arch, Lincolnshire
Roman Newport Arch, Lincolnshire: Removed from the Heritage at Risk Register this year.

This year's Register is the most comprehensive to date, after a thorough review of all listed places of worship in England over the past year. The good news is that 6% of places of worship are 'at risk', a lower number than predicted. Of those places of worship considered 'at risk', congregations will face a combination of failing roofs, broken gutters and downpipes and damage to high level stonework, huge challenges requiring not only large amounts of funding but determination and know how. In the East Midlands 40 places of worship have been added to the Register as a result of an England wide survey of all listed places of worship. However, 19 which were already on the Register were repaired this year, proving that once identified, threats can be reversed.

English Heritage Planning and Conservation Director for the East Midlands, Dr Anthony Streeten said: "Threats confront our most valuable heritage sites in many different ways, and when problems arise it's not just buildings and monuments that are affected, but also the communities around them. However heritage becomes 'at risk', English Heritage is prepared to work across the East Midlands with our partners, owners, interest groups and the public, to find solutions".

"This year we have gained a much better understanding of the risks facing places of worship across the East Midlands. More churches are on the Register now, but we can also point to much experience and many successes in tackling risk, both to valued church buildings and the many other important historic buildings that add so much character and life to the region".

The highlights from around the region include:

Lincolnshire

The ruined nave and west front of the magnificent Crowland Abbey, with its fine medieval sculpture depicting saints and figures from the site's 1300 year history has been classified 'at risk' this year. This very special site has been a place of pilgrimage since the 8th century, but now faces serious threats to its delicate stonework. The parish has completed repairs to the adjoining parish church, which this year has been removed from the Register, and has turned its attention to the Abbey ruins. This wonderful building will need urgent attention if it is to survive to delight future generations.

In the city of Lincoln Roman Newport Arch has been removed from the Register following repairs this year, while close by, a neighbouring Roman site, the Colonia Wall at Cecil Street, first revealed in the 1970s, has been added to the Register. The wall, originating in the second century AD, is a remnant of Lincoln's importance as a Roman town and one of only four 'coloniae', or settlements, for military veterans in Britain. This fascinating window into the city's past is 'at risk' because of weathering and vandalism.

Elsewhere in Lincolnshire, work continues to repair the fascinating garden buildings at Harlaxton Manor, the splendid 19th century country house which has played a role at the heart of the community over the generations as a private home, military quarters, Jesuit college, and university campus.

Northamptonshire

At Barton Seagrave the success story of Barton Seagrave Hall is now almost complete, following the removal of the magnificent Grade I listed Orangery from the Register in 2013. This year, the 18th century Hall has been removed from the Register following sympathetic repairs and conversion into a hotel and restaurant by the new owner.

One of Northampton's most important town centre buildings, has been added to the Register. Now home to the Northampton County Club, the building on George Row has medieval cellars that survived the town's great fire in 1675. During the 18th century it was adapted to house the town's first infirmary and hidden at the back of the building is an intact Victorian billiard room. English Heritage will be working with its owners to focus on urgent repair needs arising from the building's complex history of extension and adaptation, and looking to its future.

Nottinghamshire

In Worksop work will soon start on repairs at Worksop Priory Gatehouse, which formed the main entrance to the priory in the 14th century. This remarkable structure is thought to incorporate the only surviving example of an English medieval walk through shrine, where pilgrims would enter to one side, kneel, pray and leave by the opposite door. In the 17th century the gatehouse was converted to the Abbey School, and served generations of local children until the 1970s. The Gatehouse and nearby cloister wall were both placed on the first Register in 1998, but the future now looks more hopeful for both buildings thanks to successful fundraising and grant aid.

The congregation of the medieval Church of St Martin at Bilborough, Nottinghamshire, have faced many of the challenges that lead to places of worship becoming 'at risk' across the region. Decaying masonry, vandalism, thefts, and smaller congregations have been confronted in a concerted campaign that has transformed the 'at risk' church into an asset that the community can take pride in once more. Such is the success of the work that the parochial church council has been shortlisted for the 'Best Rescue of a Historic Place of Worship' at the English Heritage Angels Awards ceremony on 3 November.

Crowland Abbey, Lincolnshire
Crowland Abbey, Lincolnshire: Medieval ruins added to the Heritage at Risk Register this year and adjoining parish church removed.

Derbyshire

Eight buildings have been taken off the Register in Derbyshire, repaired and moving towards a safe future. Barlborough Hall, once the country house of an Elizabethan judge and now a school, is complemented by several important historic buildings in its grounds. The 'Banqueting House' was built as a fanciful garden building to entertain prominent guests. Despite being 'lost' and becoming dilapidated during the later history of the hall, the building still evokes the grandeur of Elizabethan soirees. The careful repair of the Banqueting House's delicate architecture has been assisted by a grant from English Heritage so that once more it can host visits and functions.

At Stydd Hall, Yeaveley, Derbyshire, significant progress has been made towards the long held ambition to remove this important historic house from the Heritage at Risk Register. One phase of repairs has been completed this summer and there are prospects for further progress in the coming year. English Heritage is working with the owners to ensure the Hall, which originated as a home base for crusading medieval knights, has a long and productive future.

Leicestershire

Magnificent Belgrave House, listed at Grade II* and dating to the 1760s has been removed from the Register, thanks to sympathetic repairs by its owner. The house was built overlooking the River Soar in what was once a small village three miles from the centre Leicester. Set within grounds first laid out for nearby Belgrave Hall and adjacent to the ancient parish church, Belgrave House once more adds its character and elegance to the Leicester suburbs.

Seagrave in Leicestershire is this year celebrating successful repairs to All Saints church, which has been removed from the Register thanks to work supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage and the parish. The church shows evidence of building work from the 13th century onwards and restoration in the19th century. Part of a rare medieval wall painting was discovered during the recent repairs and this has now been conserved and proudly displayed. Structural monitoring will continue, but All Saints is set to enjoy a secure future at the heart of its community.

The next stage of English Heritage's work to survey Grade II buildings, and see how many are at risk and why, is due to start soon and North-East Derbyshire will be playing a big part. North-East Derbyshire District Council's Archaeological Research Services will be working with local volunteers to visit a range of Grade II listed buildings near to them. They'll be testing the online survey tool, English Heritage is developing, to record the building's condition. These test projects are preparing the ground for hundreds of volunteers across the country to take part in the nationwide survey in Spring 2015.

The Heritage at Risk headlines for the East Midlands are:

  • 13 buildings or structures have been taken off the Register in the East Midlands with a safe future this year, and seven have been added.
  • 19 churches and places of worship have been taken off the Register because their future is secure, and 40 have been added.
  • One archaeological site has been removed from the Register. The Mound, at Besthorpe, Nottinghamshire, is under new ownership with better management.
  • Two archaeological sites have been added, the Roman Colonia Wall in Lincoln, and the Wansley Hall Manorial Site, the ruin of one of Nottinghamshire's longest continuously occupied houses.
  • Six conservation areas including Ratby in Hinkley and Bosworth, Leicestershire have been removed from the Register this year, three conservation areas including Swarkestone in South Derbyshire and Sleaford in Lincolnshire have been added to the Register.
  • This year, English Heritage has offered nearly £900,000 in grants to 21 'at risk' sites across the East Midlands.

For more information on heritage successfully rescued and removed from the Register this year please see the East Midlands fact sheet.

To search the Heritage at Risk Register 2014.

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