Bishop of Coventry to attend St Peter’s Church, Wormleighton Sunday Service to initiate Heritage Lottery Fund Community Project

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St Peter’s, Wormleighton in rural Warwickshire has received initial support* from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting heritage project and essential restoration work. The development grant of £8,300 will allow St Peter’s Church to apply at a later date for a full grant of over £100,000.

The heritage project will complement essential restoration work at the church and is for the benefit of the whole community.
Led by volunteer members of the Parish Church Council, the project will focus on actions aimed at making as many people as possible aware of the unique history of St Peter’s Church and of the village of Wormleighton. Actions will involve visits from local schools, improving visitors’ literature and guide books to make St Peter’s more visitor-friendly and exploiting the excellent acoustics of the church for musical events.

The project will also enable archaeology students to learn new skills by participating in a planned survey of the churchyard, which has many “listed” gravestones.

To mark the launch of this important project, the Sunday service on 22nd March at 10.30am at St Peter’s will be attended by the Bishop of Coventry, the Right Reverend Dr Christopher Cocksworth and his wife. The ancestral links of the Bishop’s and Earl Spencer’s families with Wormleighton and its church jointly go back to the 12th Century!

Commenting on the award, Jeremy Wheeler, Warden of St Peter’s Church said:
“We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund. The whole community will have the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of this exciting project. St Peter’s has been a place of worship for over 900 years. We hope through our project to make more people realise that we must preserve our local history and our links with our forebears, who built all of these wonderful small rural churches in Warwickshire, Oxfordshire and South Northants”.

About St Peter’s Church, Wormleighton
The first known Lord of the Manor of “Wimelstone”, later to be called its modern name of “Wormleighton”, was Thorkill of Arden according to the survey made for the Domesday Book in 1086. In mediaeval times the Lordship of the Manor of Wormleighton was owned by important figures in English history before becoming, in the 16th century, the first manorial seat of the late Princess Diana’s family the Spencers, whose original wealth came from owning some 5000 acres of good agricultural land around Wormleighton, where sales of livestock attracted many of the richest and most influential men in the land.

It is thought that Queen Elizabeth I visited Wormleighton in August 1572. Later the Spencer family entertained King James VIth of Scotland on his way to claim the English throne in 1603, with this visit being commemorated by the Thistle to be seen on the Gatehouse of Wormleighton Manor. During the Civil War Prince Rupert had stayed overnight at Wormleighton prior to the inconclusive battle of Edgehill in 1642. Built in the 12th century, the architectural importance of St Peter’s Church, has been officially recognised with its status as a Grade One-listed building.

About the Heritage Lottery Fund
Grants for Places of Worship* applications are assessed in two rounds. A first-round pass is given when HLF has endorsed outline proposals and earmarked funding. A first-round pass may also include an immediate award to fund the development of the project. Detailed proposals are then considered by HLF at second-round and as long as plans have progressed satisfactorily and according to the original proposal, an award for the project is confirmed.

From the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife, we use National Lottery players’ money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about. http://www.hlf.org.uk.

Further information
For further information, images and interviews please contact Isabella Moore CBE, Project Co-ordinator on 07801108720, e-mail: imoore@comtectranslations.com or Jeremy Wheeler, Churchwarden & PCC Secretary, on 01327 263 440, e-mail: wheeler.jeremy@btinternet.com.

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