St Mary’s, Pembridge

Pembridge Church

St Mary’s Church, Pembridge is an important part of this rural community as it has been for almost a thousand years. With it’s unique, detached bell tower and elegant proportions it is both a fascinating building and a centre for worship.

The address of the church is High Street, Pembridge, Leominster, Herefordshire, HR6 9EA.

St Mary’s Community Project – update

A community meeting was held in the church on the evening of July 7th 2014.  Community groups were invited and a general invitation went out via posters, etc. Over 50 were in attendance. The plans had been laid out for viewing.  As people arrived they were invited to sign in and then partake of refreshments while they viewed the plans. Everyone was invited to be seated for the presentations and the rector, Brenda Jacobs, welcomed everyone and gave an introduction to the evening. The first presentation was given by Bob Anderson who told the audience something of the history of the church and the changes that have been made to it over the years – different things having been moved or replaced. Change is not something new. The main presentation of the evening was from the architect, Jeremy Bell, who talked about the plans and the proposed changes to the church. This was an excellent presentation and few could not be inspired by his enthusiasm and passion for his work. The audience were invited to ask any questions or voice any concerns. In general this meeting was very positive although there were some concerns voiced. For the most part it was wonderful to hear all the positive comments after all the hard work that has been put into the project over the last few years.

This seems like a long time ago but since then, during 2014 and 2015, work has carried on behind the scenes on writing Statements of Significance and Need* and in investigating Funding bodies, particularly the Heritage Lottery Fund(HLF). We have also met with Liz Shaw, a representative from the HLF.

So far three applications for funding have been submitted, to Herefordshire Historic Churches Trust (HHCT), Allchurches Trust and the Garfield Weston Foundation, in September 2015 and October 2105. HHCT are very interested in the project and want to hear back from us if we secure Heritage Lottery funding, with the potential of receiving up to £25,000 from them. Unfortunately, the Garfield Weston Foundation were unable to help at present and we still await the outcome of the third application.

In the meantime a list of over 20 smaller funding bodies has been drawn up and we will be investigating as to whether our project qualifies for funding from them. If so, applications will be made.

For the HLF application we decided that we needed someone with expertise to assist us with the funding application. The PCC have therefore commissioned Suzanne Wenczek of Bearwood Associates who will work with us on the HLF first round application. We very much look forward to working with Suzanne with the view to submitting a HLF application in the summer or at the latest in the autumn.

Progress may seem slow but we remain focused on our goal and are moving forward slowly but surely.

We will be holding a coffee morning on Saturday July 9th at Rose Cottage, Pembridge where we will be bringing the community up to date on the project, so if you would like to know more please come along.  Look out for posters nearer the time.

Meryl Griffith

Project Secretary

*A Statement of Significance is an important tool to help everyone understand the significance of the church building and its fabric and fittings and should accompany every faculty (planning permission) application that involves making changes to a listed church.

A Statement of Need is a document which explains justifies and rationalises the proposal, and it serves to provide easily accessible information to help interested bodies such as the Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) and English Heritage assess the scheme which is being proposed for a faculty. (The DAC advises the Diocesan Chancellor {who has the authority to grant Faculties} on the suitability of schemes of repair and alterations.)