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Significant consolidation works were completed on St James’ Church, Lancaut which is a Listed Building and part of a Scheduled Monument. The church roof had been removed in 1860 and the chancel-arch collapsed in 1984. Conservation works included the rebuilding of the chancel-arch, with all the original stones found on site, and the repair, repointing and capping, with turf, of the exposed church walls. The project was led by owners Forest of Dean Buildings Preservation Trust, supported by the Wye Valley AONB Partnership and with funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund, English Heritage and the Gloucestershire Environmental Trust.
Lancaut Church was acquired by the Forest of Dean Buildings Preservation Trust (FoDBPT) in 2014 with the objective of undertaking essential conservation work there. Lancaut is a remote peninsula almost surrounded by the River Wye consisting of the ruined church and one farm, on the edge of Gloucestershire within the Wye Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).
The FoDBPT secured a Heritage Lottery Fund grant to match grants from the Wye Valley AONB, English Heritage and Gloucestershire Environmental Trust. This enabled the conservation works required to stabilise the church structure and ultimately rebuild the chancel arch. The contractors Nimbus Conservation were able to find on site all the stones that had come from the arch and with careful consideration were able to rebuild them back across the nave. The whole of the building has been repointed in a lime mortar and the walls topped with a local turf to protect the masonry.
The project, total cost about £140,000, has also been able to undertake conservation of a pair of lime kilns along the path to the church. The whole project has been achieved with the kind co-operation of Mr Mark Evans of Lancaut Farm who owns much of the land around the church and the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust, who graze the area and manage the neighbouring Ban-y-gor Nature Reserve. The FoDBPT are now undertaking archaeological surveys around the church and will then provide further interpretation of the building’s history and the setting which it occupies.
Lancaut Church has now been removed from the Buidlings at Risk register. The establishment of the Forest of Dean Buildings Preservation Trust (FoDBPT)was one of the legacies of the Wye Valley AONB’s Overlooking the Wye Landscape Partnership Scheme and Lancaut Church was the second property acquired by the FoDBPT, in 2014. The Wye Valley AONB Partnership Tour visited Lancaut in September to see the work where they observed the turfing of the walls first hand. Several attendees were amazed to discover the place for the first time in such a beautiful spot by the River Wye.
Working with and through the Forest of Dean Buildings Preservation Trust has been extremely successful both in terms of securing additional resources and achieving significant heritage conservation. The FoDBPT was able to access and unlock funding from English Heritage, Gloucestershire Environmental Trust, Heritage Lottery Fund and Wye Valley AONB.
Quote from participant
“I would like to congratulate all those involved in the organising of the excellent AONB annual tour. Further for their work toward the restoration of the chancel arch within St James Church, Lancaut.” Cllr Andrew Gardiner, Forest of Dean District Council.
Key search words: Listed Building, Scheduled Monument, Heritage, Conservation, HLF
Photo Credits: Wye Valley AONB Partnership