Escrick's Legless Knight steps into the future

ST HELEN’S, ESCRICK SECURES MAJOR HERITAGE LOTTERY FUNDING – ESCRICK’S LEGLESS KNIGHT STEPS INTO THE FUTURE

 

 

 

Members of the St Helen’s Project Team celebrate approval of the Heritage Lottery Fund grant.  They are: front row (l to r): Caroline Wandless, Churchwarden and Project Leader; Christine Mason, PCC Secretary; Rev’d Richard Kirkman, Rector of St Helen’s; back row: Judith Luscombe, Roger Wandless and Chris Mason.

 

Escrick Parochial Church Council (PCC) is delighted to announce that their “Walking through the centuries with a Legless Knight” project  for St Helen’s Church is to receive a £471,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), thanks to National Lottery players.

 

With funding now secure, the project will carry out essential conservation work and create a heritage hub bringing to life the interwoven 800 year story of Escrick estate, village and church.

 

When refurbishing and re-ordering works are completed, the project’s Heritage Activity Plan will invite and encourage wider community involvement with opportunities for people to get involved, sharing and investigating stories, designing village trails and learning and developing new skills.  The hub will also be a valuable resource for individuals, local schools and interest groups.

 

St Helen’s is a focal point for the local community.  It was built 160 years ago – the anniversary of the consecration was celebrated in July 2017 – and cost £26,000 funded entirely by the Lawley family who were the Estate owners, and were the forebears of the Forbes Adam family who own the estate today.  Charlie Forbes Adam, the present head of the estate is the project’s enthusiastic Champion.  St Helen’s houses a unique array of high quality monuments commemorating ten generations of the land-owning family, many commissioned from renowned European artists, including Giovanni Tognoli, Bertel Thorvaldsen and Count Gleichen, together with Eric Gill and Fishers of York.

 

Most notable of all is probably the oldest monument, which is over 550 years older than the present Victorian building.  It is the legless stone effigy of a thirteenth century knight, thought to represent Roger de Lascelles, who was once ‘Lord of the Manor’.  Despite having lost his legs centuries ago, the effigy is acknowledged by the Church Monuments Society to be carved to a very high standard and the weathered details tell us much about the fashion of the time and the precise date when it was carved.

 

The HLF provides approximately 80% of the projected cost of the project, with the remaining partnership funding already secured from church resources and the much appreciated and vital support of the Friends of St Helen’s organisation.

 

Fundraising will continue as there are some works, such as external lighting, car park and cycle rack upgrading and porch room restoration which are not covered by present funds.  Most recently, a welcome donation from the Patricia and Donald Shepherd Charitable Trust has been received to go towards improving facilities for visitors with physical impairments.

 

QUOTES

 

Commenting on the HLF Grant, Project Team Leader and Churchwarden, Caroline Wandless said: “We are overjoyed that the Heritage Lottery Fund is going to make it possible for us to realise our long held wish to upgrade St Helen’s facilities, enhance the unique apsidal baptistery and create a versatile heritage hub to ensure a sustainable long term future.  We can now work with our professional team:  Lead Consultant, Jon Steel; Architect, Jamie Holden of Studio Tamacoco Architects and Heritage Engagement Officer, Michala Pearson to progress this marvellous project during 2018”.

 

The Rector of St Helen’s, Rev’d Richard Kirkman was equally jubilant: “This is wonderful news.  St Helen’s is open to welcome visitors every day and now the HLF grant will enable us to showcase our remarkable heritage and make the building more comfortable and versatile for both our core worship and for a more extensive range of events to appeal to a wider community.”

 

David Renwick, Head of HLF Yorkshire and the Humber said: “We are delighted to support this project, which, thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, will mean that more people will be able to get involved with, protect, and learn about the exciting heritage right on their doorstep.”

 

NOTES TO EDITORS

 

Interviews/Photo Opportunity

Members of the St Helen’s Church project team will be available between 10.00 am and 2.00 pm on Friday 12 January for interviews, photos or filming. It would be helpful if you could contact Chris Mason, as indicated below, if you wish to take advantage of this opportunity.  The post code for St Helen’s Church is YO19 6EY.

 

The Project Team

The volunteers who make up the “Walking through the centuries with a Legless Knight” project are: Caroline Wandless, Churchwarden and Team Leader; Judith Luscombe; Chris Mason; Christine Mason, PCC Secretary; Steve Smith, Roger Wandless and John Wilson, PCC Treasurer.

 

About St Helen’s Church, Escrick

St Helen’s Parish Church of Escrick was built in 1857 and is a Grade II* Gothic Revival building.  The Architect was Francis Penrose, Surveyor of St Paul’s Cathedral and later President of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).  It sits majestically at the side of the A19, half way between York and Selby.  The Church is in the Derwent Deanery within the Diocese of York.  The Church is available for all Parish residents for weddings, baptisms and funerals and provides a venue for concerts by local choirs who appreciate the natural acoustic of the building, art exhibitions and school visits.  St Helen’s generates opportunities for people to feel part of something special, with more than 60 people involved in various volunteering activities from cutting the Churchyard grass, cleaning, helping with fund raising events, flower arranging, editing and distributing the parish magazine to name but a few,  St Helen’s provides an enduring presence in the community, open to all, and offers a haven of tranquillity and stability in a busy world.

 

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife.  www.hlf.org.uk.  Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and use #HLFsupported.

 

FURTHER INFORMATION

 

Caroline Wandless – Churchwarden Tel: 07774 461026 or email: escrickchurch@gmail,com

or

Chris Mason Tel: 01757 248039, mobile 07715 004346 or email: chrismasonx2@btinternet.com

 

 

 

 

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