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Layer Marney Tower in Essex gets lifeline grant for restoration

15 Dec Layer Marney Tower in Essex gets lifeline grant for restoration

Layer Marney Tower in Essex is set to receive a lifeline grant towards essential restoration for its 15th century barn from the Historic Houses Foundation.

The Historic Houses Foundation is a major beneficiary of the Heritage Stimulus Fund, recently announced by the UK Government and Historic England, which will provide invaluable support for restoration work on some of England’s most important and vulnerable historic buildings.

The Historic Houses Foundation will now be able to set in place a programme of urgent work that would not otherwise have been possible. Over the past 17 years the Foundation has distributed over £11 million in grant aid to nearly 250 vital restoration projects in England and Wales.

The Historic Houses Foundation is one of the leading funders of architectural conservation and one of the only bodies able to support buildings in private ownership. The nationally recognised expertise of its eight volunteer Trustees makes it ideally suited to identifying those projects most in need of support and after careful consideration, 18 nationally important properties across England were selected to benefit from these funds – of which Layer Marney Tower is one.

Layer Marney Tower is a house with a soaring Tudor gatehouse, centrepiece of a building planned in the reign of Henry VIII but never completed and is today home to Nick and Sheila Charrington. On one side of the Retainers’ Courtyard lies the rare medieval barn built around 1450. It forms a crucial component of the buildings lying between the principal Tower range and the Long Gallery.

The grant from the Historic Houses Foundation will enable urgent repairs to the roof timbers prior to re-roofing using re-claimed tiles. Once complete the barn will serve a multitude of purposes – education, performances, trade shows, Christmas Fairs and weddings – as well as forming the base for the Forest School to be opened in 2021.

Work will begin immediately and continue over the winter months before the start of the new tourist season in Spring 2021 and is expected to provide welcome employment to a wide range of traditional craftsmen and building professionals in addition to other local employment opportunities.

Nick Charrington commented: “This grant is not only going to save a great example Essex vernacular architecture but is also going to create a great space that will have a multitude of uses. We have been very hard hit by the current pandemic and this grant is a lifeline, putting Layer Marney Tower in a far better position to flourish in the future.”

Norman Hudson OBE, Chairman of the Historic Houses Foundation says “Our grants go to historic buildings in all categories of ownership, so range far wider than the National Trust. That we have been selected as a Delivery Partner for this money indicates that the Government likes what we do and recognises the exceptionally cost-efficient way in which we achieve it. It is good news for historic buildings and good news for jobs and the local community”