MP welcomes news of grant for Barnstaple church

North Devon Gazette

Historic England has awarded a grant of £196,832 to help repair the former Roman Catholic church – also known as Old St Mary’s - in Barnstaple.Â

The Diocese of Plymouth is also supporting the cost of the first phase of repairs to the grade II listed building.Â

Work has recently got underway to stabilise the chancel arch and buttresses by inserting steel pins and ties, restore and repoint the exterior stonework, mend the roof structure and re-slate some areas and repair the windows.Â

The work is due to be completed this summer. The building will then dry out while plans for its re-use are fully developed, working with the local community.Â

The church opened in 1855 to serve the growing community in the Trinity area of Barnstaple. Following its closure as a place of worship in 1984, there were proposals for it to be demolished. Now there is a concerted effort to repair the building and bring it back into use.Â

Selaine Saxby, MP for North Devon, said: “I know the Trinity Street community in Barnstaple have worked hard over many years to persuade the Diocese of Plymouth to repair and restore this church so that it can be used by the community. Â

“It is wonderful news that the Diocese has started this project and that Historic England has stepped in to help fund the much-needed structural work. I look forward to seeing the plans on how we can bring this amazing building back to life.”Â

Rebecca Barrett, Regional Director at Historic England, added: “It’s great to see the repairs to this remarkable building underway. We hope our support, and that of the Diocese, will secure it for generations to come.”Â

Sir Neil Butterfield, a Diocesan Trustee and Chairman of the Project Board, said: “The Diocese of Plymouth is very grateful to Historic England for its generous contribution towards the cost of restoring and renovating this important Catholic landmark in Barnstaple. For too long, the former church has stood neglected and forlorn: it is an exciting prospect that at last the building can be restored and brought back into use.”