If you've ever visited St John's Church you were probably struck by the simplicity of the church itself and the beauty and peacefulness of the place. Almost all our visitors comment on these - especially if they have visited when the crocus and daffodils are at their best. What you might be wondering is how its history (and that of the hamlet of Hall Waberthwaite) can have much significance!
Our Heritage Project is aimed at uncovering and sharing the importance of the church site to both local people and visitors. We need to preserve and conserve the church building and its artefacts: the Norman font (reputedly made from a Roman pillar), the seventeenth century pulpit, the Victorian box pews and the preaching crosses in the churchyard.
We want to celebrate what makes the site special in ways which make visiting it enjoyable and informative whilst preserving its unique tranquillity and spirituality.
This is a very special place and we hope to share its story.
At the moment a group of interested community and church members is in the middle of applying for grants to undertake a big project centred around St John's Church at Hall Waberthwaite. We have five main aims:
What we want to do on this website is to keep interested people up to date with progress and plans.
We are busy applying for grants to fund the project. The priority is sorting out the damp in the church itself, but most grants need to see more use of the church than a fortnightly service. This is one reason we are looking to restore the Laundry building to improve facilities on the site. We want to create a resource and study centre for local schools and other community groups, so they can spend time there with access to toilets and other facilities.
National Lottery funding is much harder to get nowadays, but the new grant guidelines out now still match up with our plans. If successful, it will be our major funder. If not, then we will keep on applying to other grant bodies who support big projects. In the meantime we're applying for more, smaller grants and starting to do some of the things which will contribute to the scheme. If you visit the church, which will look stunning over the next few weeks, look for the facsimile of a guidebook first produced in the 1950s.
There are lots of ways to be involved:
This will be a project running over a few years, and it will be a while before there's work happening on site, so keep an eye on the blog to find out what's happening behind the scenes. We'll be explaining what is happening and why, as well as sharing pictures of the work and any discoveries we make.
We're interested in ideas, information or photos, particularly any which help us understand the history of the site at Hall Waberthwaite. They can be emailed to email@example.com
£5500 from Copeland Community Trust for help with planning costs
£2500 from National Churches Trust to investigate drainage problems
Local financial support to conserve a handwritten guide to the church
£2000 from Veneziana Trust to conserve the Anglian cross piece