A TRINITY of churches deemed to be 'at risk' by Historic England have been saved after building repairs.

St Kenelm's Church in Minster Lovell, St Mary's Church in Adderbury and St Mary's Church in Childrey have all been removed from the Heritage at Risk Register today.

The former dates back to the 15th century while the latter two were built in the 13th century, and all three are Grade I listed.

About 23 Oxfordshire locations remain on the register, which identifies historic sites that are most at risk of being lost as a result of neglect, decay or inappropriate development.

Reverend Hugh White, team vicar at the Witney benefice, which covers Minster Lovell, said: "The roof was in a pretty bad state, and people had to move out of parts of the church because of falling plaster.

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"It's probably true to say the roof was in bad disrepair.

"The building has retained much of its character and indeed some of its furnishings, and unusual architecture."

The church has been removed from the register this year following repairs to the limestone slate roofs and the clearing of vegetation growing on the roofs.

Work was funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund Grants for Places of Worship scheme, and were completed earlier this year.

Rev White said the church plans to improve its facilities for the wider community, particularly for the many people who pass by while visiting the ruins of Minster Lovell Hall. He added: "We want to better inform them about the Christian history of the area."

In Childrey, west of Wantage, St Mary's Church has also been removed from the register after roof repairs.

The church is one of many in Oxfordshire that has fallen victim to lead thieves, who stripped the roof of the precious tiles in 2016.

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A temporary tarpaulin roof was in place until a grant was provided by the National Lottery Heritage Fund Grants for Places of Worship, and the repairs were completed in early 2019.

Churchwarden Rob Soames said: "It was a big area they stole from, which cost about £50,000 to put right - huge amounts of money.

"The repairs have now been done and alarms fitted.

"We are Grade 1 listed, which probably means there is particular interest [from Historic England] in making sure that if anything goes wrong, like the roof being stolen, something is done."

St Mary's Church in Adderbury, between Bicester and Banbury, also received a repair grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Repairs concerned the early 14th century tower and to the parapet, which Historic England said 'had weathered and deteriorated so that pieces had to be held in place to prevent them from falling.'

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Work was also carried out to high-quality stone carvings depicting animals, musicians and individuals.

Emily Gee, Historic England's regional director for the South East, said: "Our heritage needs to be saved, and investing in heritage pays.

"It helps to transform the places we live, work and visit, creating successful and distinctive places for us and for future generations to enjoy."

"There are challenging sites still on the Heritage at Risk Register, such as ruins, landscape features, or archaeological remains which are not necessarily capable of adapting to a new use."

No new Oxfordshire sites have been added to the register this year.

There are 473 'at risk' sites in the South East, including 156 Grade I and II buildings, 142 scheduled monuments, 82 places of worship, 25 registered parks and gardens, three protected wreck sites and 65 conservation areas.