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Background

Although elements of its twelfth century origins survive, this small country parish church has the most complete Rococo Gothick interior in the UK, including all its furniture.

Architecturally, it is one of the country’s most important churches.

It is thought to be closely associated with Horace Walpole’s Strawberry Hill, because The Hon. John Bateman who was also intimately involved with the construction of Strawberry Hill in the 18th century is thought to be its creator.

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How we helped

_dsc1634-large The 12th century church was first included on the Watch in 2010 following concerns about the building’s structural frailty due to water ingress and the decay of concealed structural beams set in the masonry. This had led to its rare Rococo Gothick interiors, largely remodelled in the 1750’s becoming vulnerable. The Watch came at a crucial time as, despite as stalwart effort by the Shobdon Church Preservation Trust, their 10 year, £1m campaign was running out of steam. Its inclusion swiftly leveraged £50,000 from The Paul Mellon Estate and a further fundraising effort by WMF Britain helped to close the funding gap.

Work began in earnest in February 2011 and exterior repairs to the chancel and transept roof progressed as planned.

Roof improvements included provision for a new bat entrance which allowed the protected the Brown Long Eared bats to continue roosting happily in the building.

An extensive paint analysis informed a new interior scheme. Importantly, improvements to the guttering, drainage and ventilation means the Parish can more effectively manage on-going maintenance of the building and prevent damp and leaking in the future.

Why it matters

This special little church was unveiled at the village’s annual Food and Flower Festival in June 2012 and has returned to its rightful place on the ‘must see’ list of British parish churches.

This project would not have been possible without the kind support of many individuals, trusts and foundations.

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