A SOMERSET church which was a victim of lead theft has received £11,000 thanks to the latest grants from the Culture Recovery Fund.

St Edward’s Church in Goathurst is among 162 organisations receiving funding from the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.

The money which will go towards the cost of replacing the roof of the church's north chapel.

The church was moved onto the buildings at risk register after thieves stole lead from the chapel roof in December last year, leaving the widely acclaimed collection of 17th century tombs and monuments exposed to the elements.

The monuments are from the Halswell-Kemeys-Tynte family and form an integral and important part of the history and heritage of Goathurst.

A temporary roof covering has been in place since the theft and the grant will help pay towards a replacement terne-coated steel roof.

Brenda Smith, church warden at St Edward's Church, said: “We are delighted with, and truly grateful for, this grant from Historic England as we desperately need to ensure the north chapel is watertight to prevent further damage to the tombs and monuments housed inside.

“Prior to the lead theft, the PCC were already actively pursuing a conservation and restoration programme concerning these and other monuments and were devastated by the water damage caused by the theft. The situation has also been compounded by the Covid-19 situation throughout 2020 restricting work being carried out on the building.

“This grant will enable us to re-instate a permanent roof at the earliest opportunity. We are hoping it will be in place by the end of February 2021.”

Parts of St Edward’s Church date back to the 14th century with the north chapel being added in the early 17th century to house the tombs and memorials to the Halswell-Kemeys-Tynte family who were holders of the manor of Halswell (Goathurst was the estate village).

The church's heritage is closely intertwined with nearby Halswell House and Park which are also currently undergoing extensive restoration.

Working collaboratively, the church and Halswell House and Park, together with the Landmark Trust have devised a unique Village Heritage Trail which was successfully launched as part of the Heritage Open Days in September 2019, welcoming over 400 visitors from far and wide.

They hope to repeat this in 2021 as well as providing opportunities for specific guided tours.

When the current Covid-19 restrictions are lifted, the church will once again be open daily for visitors to explore this history and heritage as part of the church’s long term vision to maximise these assets as an integral part of mission and outreach to the wider community.

Culture Secretary, Oliver Dowden, said:“These grants will help the places that have shaped our skylines for hundreds of years and that continue to define culture in our towns and cities.

"From St Paul’s and Ronnie Scott’s to The Lowry and Durham Cathedral, we’re protecting heritage and culture in every corner of the country to save jobs and ensure it can bounce back strongly.”