20 March 2020
We’re delighted to announce that NHBT has been awarded a project development grant of £37,940 by the Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) for Becket’s Chapel in Wymondham. This takes the Trust one step closer to saving one of the town’s most important historic assets. We are extremely grateful to the AHF for its continued support for this project following two previous project viability grants.
The Grade 1 listed chapel, which has been on Historic England’s ‘at risk’ register since 2018, is in a poor state of repair and has been deteriorating for a number of years. It is damp and costly to heat. In its current state the chapel has no future and will continue to decline.
Working closely with Wymondham Arts Forum, who use the chapel in the summer months as an arts centre, we have created a 3-stage plan to repair Becket’s Chapel and bring the building back into community use. Stage A will see a comprehensive repair programme completed. This will ensure that the building will not deteriorate further and it can continue be used during warmer months. Stage B will include further enhancements, such as more efficient underfloor heating, some insulation, and upgraded facilities including full disabled access, thus enabling the building to be used year-round. Stage C, the longer term plan, is to build an extension on the south side of the chapel, to include a café, which would improve the economic sustainability of the project.
The AHF project development grant will cover 90% of the costs of professional fees for stage A and B, with the remaining 10% being funded from the Trust’s own resources or external fundraising. NHBT will need to raise funds to cover the costs of the repair and upgrade work and is currently in dialogue with Historic England with regard to a repair grant.
Becket’s Chapel stands between the Market Place and Abbey church in Wymondham, at the intersection of three roads. Originally a 12th Century chapel dedicated to St Thomas A Becket, it was closely associated with Robert and William Kett (Kett’s Rebellion) when the chapel was given to the town in the 16th century. Around 1560 the chapel became the home of the Old Grammar School and in more recent years hosted the town library. The library closed in 2008 and the chapel has not had a sustainable use since.