Video: Historical Priory shrine in Worksop saved just in time by £20k grant

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Worksop Priory Gatehouse is set to benefit from a £20,000 grant towards urgent fabric repair works to its Shrine Chapel, from a fund of almost £1 million that helps to save important heritage sites.

Now in its fifth year, the grant, awarded by not-for-profit business WREN, is part of a national Heritage Fund that funds the repair, maintenance or restoration of a building or structure of historic or architectural importance.

Father Nicholas Spicer with the Priory Gatehouse shrine

Father Nicholas Spicer with the Priory Gatehouse shrine

Local organisation the Worksop Priory and Gatehouse Community Trust (WPGCT) has been leading the project to restore this Grade I listed building.

The Gatehouse is part of Worksop Priory, an Augustinian monastery founded in the early 12th century. It was built in about 1330 as guest accommodation where shelter and food was given free to any visitor for up to three days.

In around 1390 the porch containing a shrine and chapel to the Blessed Virgin were added with an entrance at each side so that a line of pilgrims could enter by one door, kneel and pray, and leave by the other door. It is the only one of its kind to survive in England.

The Shrine Chapel is still occasionally used for worship and has an external wall covered in sculpture – a frontage which is unique in the UK but is deteriorating fast.

WREN’s grant will fund urgent fabric repair works to the Shrine Chapel in the Grade I listed Gatehouse. The work is the first step of an extensive restoration programme that aims to secure the current fabric of the building and allow the Gatehouse to be more widely used and enjoyed by the local community.

Fr Nicolas Spicer, chair of Worksop PCC and trustee of the Worksop Priory and Gatehouse Community Trust, said: “We are most grateful to WREN for their contribution towards the urgent Gatehouse Chapel repairs.”

“Situated as it is in the heart of Worksop, the Gatehouse is a well-known and well-loved feature.”

“This money will enable to church to open the Chapel to a wider group of people and is a significant boost to our plans for bringing the whole Gatehouse back into community use.”

Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of The Prince’s Regeneration Trust, said: “It is absolutely vital that the unique features of the Gatehouse are protected from further deterioration- this grant has really come just in time.”

“The urgent repair works are important for both the local area and for the nation, which stands to lose these impressive elements of architecture and religious history not seen anywhere else in the UK. I’m delighted that both the building and the project have received this key funding and recognition from an organisation as well respected as WREN.”