Culture Recovery Fund grants Hexham Abbey funds for essential roof repairs

Hexham Abbey has been awarded just under £357,000 as part of the Government's £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund; one of 455 heritage organisations across the country to receive a lifesaving financial boost to help us through the Coronavirus pandemic.

We are delighted to announce we have been successful in a bid to help fund essential roof repairs to the Abbey. The worst affected areas of the roof; the Chancel East End, North Transept and Nave North Aisle will all have major repairs works undertaken, securing the building for future generations. The current slate roof coverings are in poor, deteriorating condition and over the past decade have required continual repairs to ensure the building remains wind and water tight. 

Just under £357,000 has been awarded for the roof project, meaning works undertaken will include: 

- The westmorland slate and Welsh slate coverings will be carefully removed

- Removal of failed fixings and battens

- Repair and treatment of any decayed and infested exposed timber work

- Formation of new treated counter and tiling batten structure with breather membranes

- Re-laying of the salvaged existing slates

- Renewal and repair of the failed lead items. 

The risk of not carrying out the work is that timbers will likely decay and rot, causing irrevocable damage to the medieval roof. 

The Rev'd David Glover has said:

"We are delighted to have been awarded a grant from Historic England for just under £357,000 to enable repairs to the roof. The grant from Historic England will meet just under 80% of the cost of the works and the PCC is hugely grateful to the Hexham Abbey Restoration Trust for meeting the remaining amount.

This is great news for us because raising money to repair a roof would normally be very challenging and it has been a superb effort, led by Richard Thornton, Cath Newson and Kirsty Wills, that has enabled us to win this grant. Well done to them – and thank you!

This does, however, mean that the Abbey will need to be closed to all activities from 4th January – 31st March 2021. This is because the Abbey will need to be protected from the dust that will be created by disturbing the roof and, therefore, pretty much wrapped in plastic sheeting. During this time, we will make extensive use of the Priory Building, and especially the Great Hall, for our services and activities and the café and shop will remain open. The terms of the grant mean that the roof work should be completed by the end of March and we can look forward to being back in the Abbey for Easter. I do appreciate that we will, again, miss being in the Abbey Church but this is a fantastic opportunity to complete the first stage of our roof refurbishment, which is vital if we are to ensure the long term viability of the Abbey.

If you have any questions about this, please do not hesitate to speak to me or to a Churchwarden."


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