St Augustine’s in Ramsgate is one of 142 heritage sites across England to receive a boost from the Government’s Culture Recovery Fund, with a grant of £250,000 .
The grant for St Augustine’s will fund urgent repairs to the roofs of the North Cloister, Bell Tower and St John’s chapel.
Andrew Kelly, Shrine Manager at St Augustine’s said: “St Augustine’s is a local treasure, highlighting the skills of Augustus Pugin, architect of Big Ben and large parts of the interior of the Houses of Parliament. He inspired the Gothic Revival which gave us St Pancras Station and Tower Bridge as well as the Pre Raphaelites and the Arts and Crafts movement.
“St Augustine’s also brings to life our history as the first English Kingdom in these islands (Kent), the first Christian English King (Ethelbert) and fascinating characters such as the Saxon Princess, Saint Mildred and the Apostle to the English, St Augustine.
“We have to raise £40k as our contribution to this project with £27k still outstanding. All help gratefully received.”
Administered on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) by Historic England, the sites will receive support, bolstering local economies and supporting jobs across the country.
Duncan Wilson, Historic England’s Chief Executive, said: “Funding from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund is hugely welcome at a time when the people and organisations who look after our vast and varied array of heritage urgently need support to carry out essential repairs.
“Heritage is a fragile eco-system, with an amazing cast of characters who keep our historic places alive, with specialist skills that take time to learn and experience to perfect. These grants will protect their livelihoods, as they use their expertise to help our heritage survive.”
History of the abbey
St Augustine’s Abbey church was completed in 1852 and was designed by Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, who was the leading neo gothic architect of his time. Pugin and other members of his family are buried there.
It is a Grade One listed church and is now a Shrine dedicated to St Augustine of England. The church also housed the National Pugin Visitor Centre. The church is situated next door to the Grange, the home which Pugin designed for himself and his family and lived in until his death in 1852.
The Grange later became part of St Augustine’s College. Today it is owned – and has been restored by, the Landmark Trust. For over 100 years, the church was often used by the school for special services and many former pupils are buried in its graveyard.