Tuesday 8 September 2015
Hadlow Parish Church wins Heritage Lottery Fund support
St Mary’s Church in Hadlow, near Tonbridge has received initial support(¹) from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for repairs to the church tower. Urgent conservation work is required to prevent further crumbling of the stonework of the Grade II listed church which dates back to pre-Norman times. Work on the tower is expected to take four months, starting in April 2016(²).
The HLF has awarded development funding of £19,100 to help St Mary’s, Hadlow, progress its plans to apply for a full grant later this year.
The historic fabric has deteriorated over the centuries, and small pieces of fallen masonry and stone can often be seen around the base of the tower. The work will involve replacing stone where necessary and re-pointing the exterior using traditional lime-based materials. The project will also include re-pointing some other areas of the church exterior.
St Mary’s, located in Hadlow’s conservation area, is the oldest building in the parish and dates back to Saxon times. It is overlooked by the Grade I listed Hadlow Tower, which was built in the 18th century and was itself restored thanks to a generous HLF grant. The church is an important focal point for the local community. As well as Sunday and weekday services and special services for the two local schools and Hadlow College, it is used by many local groups for events and activities; these include Coffee Pots & Tiny Tots for young children and their carers, Historical Society, Hadlow Orchestra, Yoga Club, and Men’s and Ladies’ breakfasts. It also provides a venue for regular concerts and seasonal fairs.
Rev’d Paul White, Vicar of St. Mary’s said: “We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this support. Without this help it would not have been possible to repair the tower of this ancient and beautiful church. There has been a church here in the middle of Hadlow for over 1000 years and it has always been at the centre of community life. Keeping the tower open therefore not only preserves an important piece of our built heritage but it also preserves an important focus for Hadlow community life.”