Heritage Lottery Fund Saves St Peter’s in Church Langton

A £97,000 grant has been awarded by Heritage Lottery Fund to save one of Leicestershire’s most renowned medieval churches and support projects that will bring the historic place of worship back to the heart of village communities. 

It was a callous crime by thieves who stole lead from the church roof three times in three months that brought villagers together to save and celebrate the heritage of their church, which is world famous for its acoustics. 

The Parochial Church Council of St Peter’s Church, which also serves East and West Langton, approached HLF outlining plans to develop an exciting Heritage project called ‘St. Peter’s, Saving and Celebrating Our Heritage’ bringing the considerable historical, cultural and natural qualities of St Peter’s building and grounds to local and wider communities and incorporating the major repairs to the roof. 

The first ever performance of Handel’s Messiah in a Parish Church in England happened at St. Peter’s on 27 September 1759. 

The cost of a steel roof, rather than lead, was around £100,000 and villagers raised £27,000 themselves but ambitious plans to celebrate St Peter’s would not have been possible without the Heritage Lottery Fund. 

The heritage project will not only restore the damaged Grade II listed building but also ensure that the heritage of the church and church yard is better interpreted and explained through education, visits by schoolchildren and a range of events to celebrate its history. 

Roz Folwell, Project leader and spokesperson for Saving St Peter’s, who lives in Church Langton, said, “We are overwhelmed that the Heritage Lottery Fund viewed our application positively after everyone rallied round to ensure our church stays at the heart of our community.” 

St Peter’s has eight bells and has many historical features including a medieval carving in the vestry of a naked figure, thought to be a fertility symbol taken from an earlier church. 

Roz Folwell said, “The repeated thefts of lead from the north and south aisles threatened the future of St Peter’s but has had the positive effect of bringing the community together from the three villages the church serves. We have met at weekends to plan not only how to find the funds for a theft-proof steel roof but also how to make more use of our cherished ‘Heart of the Langtons.” 

The HLF Project was launched at an event at St Peter’s Church on Friday 28 September.