St Blaise Church, Haccombe, an exceptional Grade 1 Listed building near Newton Abbot in South Devon, has received a welcome financial boost from the government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help fund repairs during the coronavirus pandemic.

Lifeline grants from the Culture Recovery Fund are designed to protect heritage sites and ensure that jobs and access to culture and heritage in local communities continues in the future.

St Blaise has been awarded nearly £18,000 for essential construction work which will stop water seeping through the roof and eroding the 800-year-old masonry. The grant comes at a crucial point because, if left much longer, damage to this much-loved church would have been beyond repair.

Grants of up to £25,000 are being allocated to cherished heritage sites, like St. Blaise, across the country to cover urgently needed maintenance and repairs. This vital 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.

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

Quotes regarding St Blaise funding for works completed in the last year.

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.’

St Blaise Church has played an important role in the community since it first opened its doors in 1233.The Grade 1 listed building has a remarkable history, a unique design with rare ancient tombs and memorials, beautiful stained glass windows, a chantry and medieval inlaid tile floor of national importance. As well as a weekly Sunday service, St Blaise is also used for community, civic and military services, celebrations and cultural events.

The Reverend John Good, among local retired clergy officiating at Haccombe, said:

“Everyone is delighted to receive this funding from the Culture Recovery Fund. It is a significant and welcome contribution towards carrying out essential work at St. Blaise. As a result the church will be able to continue being an important part of our community.”

Andrew Cooper, author, broadcaster and BBC wildlife television producer, said: ‘St Blaise is a rare gem of a parish church with so many connections to famous historic events and natural history. Once owned by a family that can trace their lineage back to a time even before the Domesday Survey was just a twinkle in William the Conqueror’s eye.’

After many months of repair and monument conservation work, St Blaise church is now planning to be open again to receive visitors from Easter 2022.

‘For St Blaise group visits and guided tours throughout the summer please contact Andrew through the Mid Devon Advertiser.’

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.’