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 Culture Recovery Fund Grant 

Grafton Regis Heritage Centre at St Mary the Virgin Church receives lifeline grant from Government’s £1.57bn Culture Recovery Fund

  • Almost 450 heritage organisations in England, including Grafton Regis Heritage Centre have been awarded cash from the first round of the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage

  • Grants of up to £1 million will deliver a lifeline for the heritage sector in England with further support to follow and larger grants for capital projects awarded through the Heritage Stimulus Fund

  • First major tranche of funding from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund


Grafton Regis Heritage Centre is one of 445 heritage organisations across the country which has  received a lifesaving financial boost from the government thanks to the £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help them through the Coronavirus pandemic.


445 organisations will share £103 million, including Grafton Regis Heritage Centre to help restart vital reconstruction work and maintenance on cherished heritage sites, keeping venues open and supporting those working in the sector.


The £20,300 received will allow Grafton Regis Heritage Centre to  build a comfort toilet. At present there are no toilet facilities for visitors. From this funding the Heritage Centre will also be able to install energy efficient sensor lighting  which will enable the area to be lit only when necessary.


This vital funding is from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage and the Heritage Stimulus Fund - funded by Government and administered at arms length by Historic England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Both funds are part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund which is designed to secure the future of Britain’s museums, galleries, theatres, independent cinemas, heritage sites and music venues with emergency grants and loans.


433 organisations will receive a share of £67 million from the Culture Recovery Fund for Heritage to help with costs for operating, reopening and recovery. This includes famous heritage sites across the country, from Wentworth Woodhouse in Yorkshire to Blackpool’s Winter Gardens, Blyth Tall Ship to the Severn Valley Railway, the International Bomber Command Centre in Lincolnshire to the Piecehall in Halifax. The funds will save sites that are a source of pride for communities across the country.


12 organisations, including English Heritage, Landmark Trust, Historic Royal Palaces and the Canal and River Trust, will receive £34 million from the Heritage Stimulus Fund to restart construction and maintenance on cherished heritage sites to preserve visitor attractions and protect livelihoods for some of the most vulnerable heritage specialists and contractors in the sector.


The Architectural Heritage Fund (AHF) has also been awarded a grant from the Culture Recovery Fund through Historic England. The AHF will use the funding to support charities and social enterprises occupying historic buildings to develop new business plans and strategies for organisations affected by the pandemic.


Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:


“As a nation it is essential that we preserve our heritage and celebrate and learn from our past. This massive support package will protect our shared heritage for future generations, save jobs and help us prepare for a cultural bounceback post covid.”


Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator, Historic Royal Palaces, said:


“There’s no truer way to experience the past than to walk in the footsteps of those who have lived it – that’s why preserving our built heritage is so important.


“At Historic Royal Palaces, we care for six nationally significant buildings, opening them to the public and preserving them for future generations. Sadly, the pandemic meant that we had to stop some of our critical conservation work. The grant we have received from the Culture Recovery Fund will enable to this work to resume – so we can give some of Britain’s most historic buildings the care and attention they deserve, while supporting the specialist craftspeople who are vital for the future of our national heritage.  We are enormously grateful to the Government for this support.”


Judy Kendrick-Simonsen of Grafton Regis Historians said:

Grafton Regis is a small village with a huge international history. It is the birthplace of Elizabeth Woodville, known as The White Queen. Her family supported the Lancastrians claim to the English throne. Edward IV was from the rival family of York. The emblem of the new dynasty was the Tudor Rose which was born from the marriage of their daughter Elizabeth of York to Henry VII. The village was also the site of a Tudor palace of their son, Henry VIII. He came with his Court to this palace many times to hunt, hold jousts and receive ambassadors whilst his court resided at Grafton Regis. Anne Boleyn was staying here with Henry VIII on the day Cardinal Wolsey came with the news that the Pope would not allow Henry a divorce from Catherine of Aragon. A real life Game of Thrones has played itself out in Grafton Regis over the centuries. There are many other gems of history which occurred here throughout the Elizabethan and English Civil War eras. From  culture and the Shakespeare connection to a siege of thousands of troops in the Civil War, the Grafton Estate is also the birthplace of weather forecasting and of an invitation of a journey to Darwin. For centuries Grafton Regis has been the centre of a world wide historical journey. Grafton Regis Historians maintain the Grafton Regis Heritage Centre for visitors from all over the world to come and see, listen and watch history through our Heritage Centre and our costumed history days.


We will be ready to welcome visitors. Keep checking our website for information on when we can start our Heritage activities and our contact details. We look forward to seeing you.



Duncan Wilson, Historic England’s Chief Executive said:


“It is heartening to see grants, both large and small, from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund helping heritage sites and organisations across the country which have been hit hard by the effects of Covid-19. These grants range from giving skilled craft workers the chance to keep their trades alive to helping heritage organisations pay the bills, and to kick-starting repair works at our best-loved historic sites. The funding is an essential lifeline for our heritage and the people who work tirelessly to conserve it for us all, so that we can hand it on to future generations.”


Ros Kerslake, Chief Executive of the National Lottery Heritage Fund said:


“It is absolutely right that investing in heritage should be a priority during this crisis and this support by Government is crucial.  Heritage creates jobs and economic prosperity, is a major driver for tourism and makes our towns, cities, and rural areas better places to live.  All of this is so important for our wellbeing and will be particularly vital when we start to emerge from this incredibly difficult time.


“Our heritage is still facing a perilous future – we are not out of the woods yet.  But this hugely welcome funding from Government, and the money we continue to invest from the National Lottery, has undoubtedly stopped heritage and the organisations that care for it being permanently lost.”


Kate Mavor, Chief Executive of English Heritage, said:


“This support for our nation’s heritage is fantastic news.  Over the last few months, our teams have been working hard to welcome visitors back safely to the great castles, stone circles, abbeys and historic houses in our care. This funding will help us invest to safeguard the historic fabric of these much-loved places, which everyone can learn from and enjoy.”

Can you help keep our historic Church open?

The Church of St. Mary the Virgin in Grafton Regis is steeped in history and contains some nationally important artifacts. However due to the small size of the village the current Church income alone is insufficient to keep it open and to restore / maintain the important artifacts including the medieval tomb of Elizabeth’s grandfather, Sir John Woodville. If you can support us with a donation it would be much appreciated - you can use one of the methods below:

Support St Mary the Virgin Church - Grafton Regis - with easyfundraising:

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