Hexham Abbey wins grant for repairs to 1,300 year old Saxon Crypt

First published on: 24th February 2021

Hexham Abbey has received a financial boost from the government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help fund repairs during the coronavirus pandemic. 

A grant of £24,500 has been awarded to allow environmental investigation work and masonry repairs to the Abbey’s Anglo Saxon Crypt. Preserved and largely unchanged in 1,300 years, the Crypt is the only part of a church built on the site by Bishop Wilfrid in 674AD that survives intact.

This funding comes from a part of the Culture Recovery Fund called the Heritage Stimulus Fund and is administered on behalf of the government by Historic England. The grants of up to £25,000 are being allocated to cherished heritage sites across the country to cover urgently needed manintenance and repairs.

As well as rescuing precious heritage buildings in need, the injection of cash will protect livelihoods for some of the most vulnerable heritage specialists and contractors working in the sector. 

The Revd David Glover, Rector of Hexham said: “Our Anglo Saxon crypt would normally be attracting tens of thousands of visitors a year and it is vital that we do all that we can to preserve it. It is the last intact part of the original church built here by Bishop Wilfrid 1,300 years ago, so it’s of immense historical and religious significance.

“Hexham Abbey is of international heritage standing and we are absolutely delighted to receive this grant from Historic England at a time when additional grant funding is also allowing us to proceed with our important Abbey Roof refurbishment. The work here, using the very best in skilled workmanship and the very highest conservation techniques, will help preserve this incredible building for our future generations.”

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. We’re protecting heritage and culture in every corner of the country to save jobs and ensure it's there for future generations to enjoy.”

Duncan Wilson, Historic England Chief Executive said: “Historic places across the country are being supported by the Government’s grants awarded under the Culture Recovery Fund. This funding is a lifeline which is kick-starting essential repairs and maintenance at many of our most precious historic sites, so they can begin to recover from the damaging effects of COVID-19. 

“It is also providing employment for skilled craft workers who help keep historic places alive and the wheels of the heritage sector turning. Our shared heritage is an anchor for us all in these challenging times and this funding will help to ensure it remains part of our collective future.”

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