The small village of Redlingfield is celebrating being awarded £71,800 grant to help save their Anglo Saxon church.
Redlingfield, which has less than 60 households, has big plans for such a little village. As well as saving the historic Anglo Saxon church – which is mentioned in the Domesday Book – it also hopes to expand the Doorstep Green and give the church a new lease of life.
Those plans have been given a major boost by the Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund grant. The church of St Andrew, which is on the “At Risk Register”, needs further work to secure its future but making the roof water-tight is a start.
The village wants to make the church a building the whole community can use with toilets, a kitchen, sustainable heating and lighting and secure and safe access from the village.
Repairing and improving the church is expected to cost approximately £150,000 while it is hoped around £80,000 will be spent on enlarging and improving the Doorstep Green recreation area so it links up with the church.
A survey of all villagers carried out by the parish council revealed overwhelming support for extending the Doorstep Green and improving the church to meet the needs of the village.
Parish clerk Janet Norman-Philips said: “The church would be right next door to an enlarged Doorstep Green – so bringing the two projects together makes so much sense.”
“Our beautiful little church has been around for almost a thousand years but it is in a sorry state, the roof needs major work, we have damp problems and the electrics are in urgent need of repair.
“We simply have to save it but we want to do so much more with it so that the people living here in a thousand years’ time can still enjoy it.” She added: “When creating the Doorstep Green we didn’t think deeply enough about future growth – we didn’t realise how popular it was going to be and we made it far, far too small. “It’s not going to be easy or quick but if we all pull together we believe we can achieve it.
Fund raising efforts have started with events planned for later this year starting with a Buffet & Race Night at the Horham Community Centre on 11th April and concluding with a 1940s dance at the Red Feather Club in neighbouring Horham on 14th November, which will go towards the church fund.
Villagers and vicar Rev Michael Womack are pictured above celebrating outside the church.