New chapter for historic Barnstaple chapel

Joseph Bulmer

Restoration of St Anne’s will get under way with �220k grant

ONE of Barnstaple’s oldest buildings is to be restored and repaired thanks to awards of �148,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and �75,000 from Devon County Council.

The “sympathetic” renovation of St Anne’s Chapel will bring the 14th century building – the only surviving chapel in Barnstaple since before the Reformation – up to 21st century standards for community use.

The works will include new toilet facilities, electrics, lighting, staging, furniture, sound and heating systems.

The Grade I listed building has a long history spanning more than six centuries. It has been used as a charnel house, a chantry chapel, a place of worship for Huguenot refugees, a grammar School and museum.

Once the repair work is complete, Barnstaple Town Council will be able to use the chapel as a community centre for cultural and educational events. Local community organisations will be invited to use the facility and the town council has already received many expressions of interest from history groups, arts and performance organisations and the general public.

Anne Jenkins, town clerk, said: “St Anne’s Chapel has been little used in the past 30 years but thanks to the support of Heritage Lottery Fund and Devon County Council, we now have the opportunity to write a new and exciting chapter in the building’s long and varied history.”

Mayor of Barnstaple, Cllr Ian Roome, said the repair work will bring St Anne’s back into the heart of the community, while Cllr Catherine Upcott, chairman of the council’s Heritage Committee, said she couldn’t wait for work to get started on the improvements.

Brian Greenslade Devon County Councillor for Barnstaple North, added: “This is super news, many congratulations to the town council for achieving this result.

“It gives me particular pleasure as I led the sale negotiations for Exeter Airport and subsequently was able to secure �75,000 of funding to support the project.”

Nerys Watts, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund South West, said: “We are delighted to be able to support the restoration St Anne’s Chapel, which is one of Barnstaple’s heritage treasures.

“With our support the chapel will be transformed to become a fantastic resource for the local community.

“By investing in the restoration of historic buildings such as this, and bringing them back into sustainable use, we are able to ensure their preservation long into the future.”