A second application to the Heritage Lottery Fund to assist in the restoration of St Mary’s Church in Lydiard Park has been turned down again.
The bid for £500,000 has been refined and more closely focused on saving the extensive medieval wall paintings which have been identified by the Church of England as amongst the top 100 artworks most in need of conservation.
St Mary’s Church Building & Conservation Appeal chairman Paul Gardner commented: “Although our revised bid was unsuccessful the HLF recognises the exceptional heritage importance of the church and its contents. They have strongly indicated that a revised application would be welcomed provided we show stronger outcomes for people and communities, and also clearer evidence of the links between St Mary’s and Lydiard House.”
Work to make the church roof wind and water tight started in 2011. The appeal committee is now spending funds raised from public donations and grant giving bodies on urgent work to halt water penetration behind the altar.
Paul said: “We believe the conservation of the 18th Century Reredos – the artwork behind the altar – and the East Chancel wall will show the public how their donations to our appeal are being used to restore the beautiful interior of the church.
“We continue to be very grateful for the ongoing support by our many visitors which has allowed us to fund the works to the Reredos.”
Internationally acclaimed conservator Jane Rutherfoord has been commissioned to carry out the careful work to repair and protect the historic artwork.
Jane will be giving a talk about the challenges of preserving delicate artworks in March as part of a series of talks organised by the Friends of Lydiard Park and staff at Lydiard House whilst the house is closed for cleaning for three months. See details of how to book a place below.
Behind Closed Doors:
Saturday 23 January, 2.30pm: The Ladies of Lydiard. An entertaining tour with local historian Frances Bevan revealing the secrets and talents of Lydiard ladies through the centuries.
Wednesday 3 February, 2.30pm: Wigs, Ruffs and Robes. Discover hidden stories behind the portraits of sumptuously dressed aristocrats with Lydiard House educationalist Nancy Heath.
Saturday 13 February, 2.30pm: Keeping up Appearances. Frances Yeo, Curator of Lydiard House shows how the Lydiard collection is cared for and demonstrates ways you can look after your own treasured possessions and furnishings.
Saturday 20 February, 2.30pm: Grand Designs. Architect Michael Gray explains how the St.John family tried to assert and maintain their aristocratic status by commissioning art, architecture and landscape at Lydiard Park between 1615 and 1748.
Wednesday 24 February, 7pm: The Ladies of Lydiard with local historian Frances Bevan (see 23 January)
Wednesday 16 March, 7pm: Uncovering History. Jane Rutherfoord talks about ancient wall paintings and her fascinating conservation work in St. Mary’s Church, Lydiard Tregoze. Donations to the St. Mary’s Conservation Appeal are welcomed.
Events are free (donations welcomed) but places are limited. To book your place, contact: Charlotte Thwaites on 01793 465277 or email: CThwaites@swindon.gov.uk
Pictured top by Richard Wintle of Calyx, Jane Rutherfoord working on the artworks in St Mary’s. Below, conseravtor Catherine Atkinson working on the Reredos