England’s oldest windmill and a medieval church turned into a circus venue are among 26 historic places that risk being lost forever without urgent action, according to a new report.
Historic England’s latest Heritage at Risk Register, published Thursday, is an annual health check of England’s most treasured historic places and flags those that are victims of neglect, degradation or inappropriate development.
However, in the past year 13 buildings in the area have been taken off the register after being rescued thanks to the work of charities, landlords, local councils and Historic England.
The organization has awarded £ 1.5million in grants to historic places in the region, as well as another £ 928,650 from the Culture Recovery Fund.
Tony Calladine, Regional Director of Historic England, said: “Our heritage is an anchor for all of us in these difficult times. Despite the challenges we have all faced recently, this year’s Heritage in Danger register demonstrates that caring for and investing in our historic places can bring communities together, contribute to the country’s economic recovery and help fight climate change.
“Our historic places deserve attention, investment and a secure future. “
In the East of England, there are over 400 entries on the at-risk register, including:
AT RISK: Bourn Mill, South Cambridgeshire
One of England’s oldest windmills is in danger of collapsing, according to the registry.
The main post at Bourn Mill in Cambridgeshire comes from a tree felled around 1515, which means it is probably the first dated main mill post in the country.
The mill was in use until 1926 when it was sold for £ 45, before passing into the hands of the Cambridgeshire Past, Present and Future (CPPF) charity in 1932.
A dedicated team of volunteers kept the mill running with activities and regular maintenance – but the mill is now in danger of collapsing due to rotting of its central support beams.
Emergency funding has been provided to support the mill and develop plans to repair it, for which the charity is now raising funds.
James Littlewood, Managing Director of CPPF, said: “The beams and trestles need to be replaced, which will be a big task.
“If we can raise funds, then we hope to be able to complete the work in 2022 and reopen this important and amazing building to visitors. “
AT RISK: St Michael Coslany Church, Norwich
This impressive medieval church is now used as a community circus center – but may soon close permanently without repairs to its crumbling choir roof.
Part of it collapsed in early 2021 and the building’s owner, the Norwich Historic Churches Trust, has a repair program in place that will begin soon.
The church has not been used for worship since 1971 and more recently became the Oak Circus center, which uses the space to rehearse and perform.
Without urgent refurbishment, the building would almost certainly face closure and Norwich would lose much appreciated community space, Historic England said.
REGISTERED: Parish Church of St Mary, Whaddon, Cambridgeshire
Two years after the theft of its entire lead roof, the 14th century Church of St. Mary is now waterproof under a new roof and welcomes the faithful to its services secured against the Covid.
Work on the Grade I listed building was funded by fundraising from the local community, along with a grant from the Cultural Recovery Fund and money from the Cambridgeshire Historic Churches Trust and the Amey Community Fund.
Dating back to 1300, the church is the oldest surviving building in Whaddon and is adorned with sculptures of mythical beasts and grotesque heads. The heads carved on the windows of the aisles show well-to-do figures in the south aisle and humble figures in the north.
Church keeper David Grech said: “When in 2019 we found out that all the lead had been stolen from the roof of our church, we were pretty low. It felt like a Herculean task to find the money to re-roof the church, and we were worried that this would exceed the limited resources of a small rural parish.
“But we soon found out that we were not alone, and with the help of our wider village community, as well as technical advice and encouragement from Historic England, as well as generous financial support, we are there. reached. If you had told me in 2019 that we would have a new roof in two years, I wouldn’t have believed you. “
REGISTERED: Unitarian Meeting House, Ipswich
The Grade I listed Unitarian meeting house in Ipswich, once rented by novelist Daniel Defoe, welcomes visitors again after a comprehensive restoration program.
It was opened for services in 1700 and has been used for worship ever since, to be considered one of the finest 18th century dissident meeting houses in the country.
In 1722 Defoe called it “a building like this as tall and beautiful as most on this side of England, and the best finished interior of any I’ve seen, London bar none.”
A year-long restoration project funded by a grant of £ 600,000 to Historic England and £ 140,000 from the community included work on the roof, drainage and framing, and replacement of cracked plaster.
The building recently received a Suffolk Heritage Champion Award by the Suffolk Preservation Society.
Linda King, President of Trustees, said: “The Trustees and the congregation are delighted with the end result of the restoration program and are full of admiration for the men and women whose knowledge and skills have helped save a building in the city. ‘such historical significance.
“It is equally important that we can once again be able to use the meeting room for our worship service and for community events. “