THREE Huddersfield churches have been given a vital lifeline.
They are among 17 of the most important listed churches across Yorkshire which have secured lottery funding.
The churches will share more than £1.8m of Heritage Lottery funding to help carry out urgent structural repairs.
The local churches to benefit are:
Huddersfield Parish Church – £138,000
St John’s Church Birkby – £198,000
St Michael the Archangel, Emley – £145,000.
The money comes from the Repair Grants for Places of Worship scheme, which is currently funded by HLF and administered by English Heritage.
In June 2013, it will be superseded by HLF’s new £30, UK-wide Grants for Places of Worship programme. This new initiative will continue to prioritise urgent structural repairs. However it will also enable applicants to apply for funding to support new works – such as the provision of toilets and kitchens – that will improve the functionality of churches.
Huddersfield Parish Church, which is Grade II listed, is the third church to stand upon the site.
The first is thought to have been built around 1090 and was replaced in 1503. The second was entirely demolished for the present church, designed by J P Pritchett and built in 1836. Stone from the old church was salvaged for the new building.
The grant will be used for repairs to masonry, glazing and surface water drainage to the nave north elevation along with additional north nave masonry repairs to the windows and masonry repairs to the south porch walls.
St John’s Church in Birkby hit the headlines when thieves trying to steal the lightning conductor brought down part of the spire.
The church was built in 1852/53 by the trustees of the late Sir John Ramsden and is designed by William Butterfield.
Water has been leaking in for years and the funds will be used for repair to the roofs of the north pitch of the nave, the north aisle and the north porch along with repair of rainwater goods.
Some high level masonry repairs to the north elevations to the church are also included.
Parts of St Michael the Archangel, Emley, date back centuries.
The earliest fabric of the Grade I listed church is in the nave south wall, built around 1300, re-using stone from an early Norman church.
Church officials will use the funds to repair the south porch following the partial collapse of the arch over the entrance.
The cash will also be spent on urgent repairs to the tower roof structure and roof covering following long-standing water leaks.
Fiona Spiers, head of Heritage Lottery funding Yorkshire and Humber, said: “Historic places of worship form prominent and much loved landmarks in our villages, towns and cities across Yorkshire and Humber.
“They are unique buildings that bring local communities together for a variety of reasons from worship through to culture and leisure.
“With these new grants we aim to ensure even more are secured for future generations to enjoy.”
Trevor Mitchell, English Heritage planning director, said: “Listed places of worship make up an elemental part of the historic fabric ofEngland.
“They are familiar and much loved landmarks for our villages, towns and cities and it is crucial they are cared for and repaired.”