Project to raise money for final part of Newport church restoration

Newport Church

Newport Church - Credit: Archant

A decoration fund has been launched for the Grade I listed St Mary’s Church in Newport, a 13th century church with Saxon parts where grave stones have been found from the 11th century.

The Friends of St Mary’s are hoping that villagers will be prepared to take out monthly standing orders to pay £10 or £20 over the next five years.

Since 2000, the church has spent £700,000 on repairs including the roofs, walls, tower and a staircase. It now needs another £110,000 for the final touches.

Said treasurer, Neil Hargraves: “We are now on the final £300,000 five-year leg of a 20-year £1m restoration project.

“The walls have not been decorated for over 50 years and the cost of repair and painting will be about £110,000. No grant funding is available for decoration so the costs will have to be met by the church community and village.”

He added: “The church is in the centre of the village, and can be seen for miles around. It is a listed building of great historic and architectural importance, housing a number of treasures including the Newport Chest, a portable altar of the late thirteenth century with oil paintings, and the church has an octagonal font of similar age.”

There was a church on the site at the beginning of the twelfth century, but the oldest parts of the present building are from the early thirteenth. The porch is fifteenth century over which is a priest’s room containing an eighteenth century Bray library. These were ecclesiastical libraries set up by Thomas Bray across the country. Newport has one of only three in Essex still in situ.

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The church has brasses from 1515 and 1608, and stained glass in the north transept from the early fourteenth century. The rest of the glass is mostly Victorian or from the chancel restoration in 1911.

The fifteenth century tower was rebuilt in 1858-59. It contains six bells, the earliest of which dates from 1440.

As well as regular services, the church is used by the community for baptisms, weddings and funerals and also for concerts and other events

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