A VILLAGE chapel which Baptists have used for over 300 years, is receiving some much needed work to restore it to its former glory.

The Grade II-listed Hook Norton Baptist Church is showing signs of its age and needs remedial work and modernising.

The repair and renovation project is being overseen by conservation architect Peter Preston, of Manifest Design Workshop. He will undertake urgent work to remove causes of damp and other deterioration while installing thermal insulation, and energy efficient heating and lighting, and increasing building security.

Pastor Peter Brookes said: “This is an exciting time for our church as we seek to make our worship space fit for purpose in the 21st century.

“Furthermore, the renovated chapel will offer our community excellent facilities for concerts, dramas and exhibitions.”

The project started in 2016 following a survey of the condition of the chapel, with the intervening years spent on additional surveys and obtaining permission from the Baptist Union of Great Britain’s List Building Advisory Committee.

The project has been broken down into three phases: external work; internal repairs, heating and lighting; and gallery renovation.

The church is hoping to secure enough funds to complete the first two phases in the next 12 months, with the final phase set for completion when the funds are available.

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A grant of £6,000 from theAllchurches Trust has seen the chapel reaching £185,000 of its target of £280,000.

The trust gave more than £16m to churches and charities in 2018, funding projects that tackle homelessness, poverty and social exclusion, as well as repair and restoration of churches.

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Its funds come from its ownership of Ecclesiastical Insurance Group.

Baptists have been a part of Hook Norton’s history for hundreds of years, with the chapel built in 1718, and then re-built in 1787.