Set in a beautiful Herefordshire countryside, just outside Ross on Wye, is the lovely, modest medieval church of Brampton Abbott. Built in the 12th century from local stone, including a stone slate roof, it is a remarkably unchanged building with a fine 14th century timber framed porch and small square bell tower. The building is much loved by the local community, but the congregation was diminishing to such a point that closure was inevitable.
It is a story that is commonplace, but the future for this church is very far from commonplace. Through consultation and detailed work within the village, the Diocese and the Churches Conservation Trust identified a group of local people with the entrepreneurial skills to establish and manage the church as an artisan bakery and community event space serving this isolated rural village.
AHF has given a Project Development Grant of £25,000 to employ a project manager to help the group make their plans a reality. The plans are for the bakery to sit inside a contemporary pod within the church, whilst the rest of the space will be used flexibly so it can be a cookery school or a café, or a space where social events, pop up festivals and the occasional church service can take place. The Diocese is just completing repairs to the building with HLF funding, prior to leasing the building to the group. Once transferred rents charged to the artisan bakery will cover the costs of maintaining the church in good repair and the church will remain at the heart of the community.
AHF support for projects like these would not be possible without the continued support of Historic England.
See here for a full list of our most recent new grant beneficiaries.