Church wins top award for renovation
A project to save a historic Grade II* listed church in the rolling Shropshire countryside has won a top award from Shropshire Council.
The 12th century St John the Baptist Church on the Long Mynd underwent a £300,000 renovation and volunteers, Historic England and National Lottery funding enabled the community to save the unique structure.
More commonly known as Myndtown Church the building is a rare surviving example of 12th century farmers’ church, and contains one of the oldest bells in England. It was judged in danger of a crumbling in 2015 leading to a drive to to preserve it for future generations.
At a recent awards ceremony held at the Shirehall in Shrewsbury the architects, contractor and project manager involved in the restoration were praised for their hard work and foresight in the first-ever Shropshire Council Design and Conservation Awards .
Myndtown Church’s Heritage Lottery Fund restoration project was one of only four entries to receive a full award. Five other entries received commendations and three received special mentions.
Certificates were presented to the Myndtown project’s architects (Sean Pemble and Andrew Arrol, of Arrol and Snell, contractor (Mike Curry of Phillips and Curry) and project manager, John Burt.
The awards were launched by the council at the start of 2017 and aimed to promote, encourage and recognise inclusive, sustainable and high quality developments across the county.
Thirty entries were received and were assessed according to a range of criteria including design quality, context, craftsmanship and sustainability. Judging took place in two phases: an internal assessment, followed by a design review with external judges.
Ian Kilby, planning services manager of Shropshire Council, said: “One of the key success factors that most impressed the judges with regard to Myndtown Church was the skill and delicacy with which these essential building repairs had been undertaken. This has ensured that the special architectural and historic interest of this important Grade II * listed building will be preserved for the future."
Mr Burt said: "We are absolutely delighted to have won this award. It is a great recognition of the work that has gone in to the renovation of the church. The church used to have between 10-15 people at each monthly service - in total there were probably around 100 people per year using the church.
"When we held the opening party in July, 500 people came along. Now we project that there will be around 2,000 visitors in the first year. This is a small church in the shadow of the Long Mynd. It's success is beyond belief."