Daventry village church hit by thieves hopes to cover repair costs with heritage grant

St Peter and St Pauls Church in Watford
St Peter and St Pauls Church in Watford

A church in a Daventry village hopes to secure a heritage grant to cover the repair costs after thieves stole lead and copper from its roof.

St Peter and St Paul’s Church in Watford was targeted twice in 10 days in June this year by thieves who stole metal from the chancel and nave roofs.

A temporary roof has been in place since the theft

A temporary roof has been in place since the theft

Plans for the repairs were submitted to Daventry District Council and the church is waiting for permission to carry them out.

The cost of the work on the Grade I listed building, which dates back to the 14th Century, is thought to be around £250,000 and the church is hoping to secure a Heritage Lottery Fund grant to carry out the work.

It proposes to replace the lead and copper on the roofs with stainless steel, to use lead for the gutters, to install a disabled access toilet to the north porch and add new lighting to pathways.

Stainless steel is difficult to remove and has less salvage value.

An architectural advisor to two dioceses said they had not come across a theft of stainless steel to a church roof in the last five years, whereas there have been numerous lead thefts.

Historic England has not objected to the proposals.

Linda Ariss, Watford's church repair and restoration project lead and fundraiser, said the community would fight to keep St Peter and St Paul’s open.

Another church facing an expensive repair bill is All Saints in Norton, where stole copper from the roof resulting in a £100,000 bill.

The church is potentially in danger of closing but although bishop has been petitioned to consider ending services, the community is also willing to ensure the worship place has a future.