St Andrew’s Church in Temple Grafton trying to raise £250,000 features on The Victorian Society’s Top Ten Endangered Buildings list 2023

St Andrew’s Church in Temple Grafton in Warwickshire is on The Victorian Society’s Top Ten Endangered buildings list 2023. The Grade II listed 1875 church needs expensive emergency work if it is to survive.

Photo credit: Tim Bridges, The Victorian Society 18/06/2023

The church has started a fundraiser to meet the £250,000 cost of works.

Griff Rhys Jones, The Victorian Society President said: “It’s just magnificent. The heart of many country villages is the church, and this is a gem. We cannot let it go.It would be a tragedy if Temple Grafton were to lose a second church.”

St Andrew’s church stands on the edge of a hill with commanding views across a valley to Bredon Hill and the Cotswolds. Worcestershire architect Frederick Preedy built this Gothic Church to replace an Anglo-Saxon church which was probably where William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway married. It is perhaps his finest in the West Midlands. The church was funded by William Carlisle, a Victorian thread manufacturer, who also built the new school, cottages, and vicarage along with a new house for himself.The church’s decoration illustrates the village’s links to the Knights Hospitallers who had a preceptory close by that gave Temple Grafton its name. The church includes stained glass designed by Preedy – the only architect of his time who designed and made his own stained glass windows including in the cathedrals of Worcester, Gloucester, and Ely.

The Church now has serious structural issues. Services can’t be held as oak shingles on the roof and spire are loose and unsafe. The belfry, rainwater goods, and high level stonework are in extremely poor condition. Scaffolding was erected in March 2023 when the congregation funded initial emergency repairs, but much more extensive works are needed to secure the church’s future.

The full Top Ten list 2023 is here and includes an earl’s mansion that became a hostel for the homeless, two engineering marvels that saved lives through improving sanitation, and a club where newly enfranchised voters could meet. The list is based on public nominations from across England and Wales, and the buildings selected represent industrial, religious, domestic, and civic architecture from across the nation with unique historical and community significance and value. Nominated buildings must be dated between 1837 and 1914. The Victorian Society has announced its Top Ten of Endangered buildings thirteen times.

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