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.
Would you like to join our active Board of Trustees?
We’re looking for someone with a keen interest in the built environment and heritage who would enjoy getting involved in our work to conserve and promote Norfolk’s built heritage.
This is a voluntary role which involves: – overseeing the Trust’s accounts – authorising payments – liaising with the Trust’s secretary and external accountants – overseeing the administration of staff pensions (we employ 2 part-time staff) – attending quarterly board meetings and presenting quarterly accounts – presenting annual accounts at the AGM
There’s also the chance to get involved in non-finance matters such as specific projects or taking an interest in a particular building, should you wish to do so.
A formal accountancy qualification is not essential, but candidates should have a good grasp of financial matters.
If you are interested in the treasurer role please send applications, including a CV, to email@example.com
Becket’s Chapel is a Grade I listed building, with a rich history. It was placed on the national “at risk” register in 2018. The building has been semi-redundant since 2008 when the town library moved to a new, purpose-built building. The building is suffering from a number of defects, including damp penetration, and has very poor, basic facilities. Lacking in insulation, it is very costly to heat and, as a result, is closed in the winter months, which further exacerbates the damp problems.
NHBT is working with a local community organisation, Wymondham Arts Forum, which uses the building in the summer months as an art gallery, on a project to repair and upgrade the building. This would ensure the long-term future of the chapel as a venue for multi- functional use. NHBT does not have the financial wherewithal to inject substantial funds into this project, so is looking to fundraise with the support of the local community.
We have made two approaches to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for financial support, but unfortunately competition for their diminishing resources is fierce. We are grateful for the support of the Architectural Heritage Fund and The Geoffrey Watling Charity, who are providing financial support for project viability work. Historic England is also providing practical support, and we are in discussion with them about repair works.