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Press Release July 2020

The St Sylvester’s Church Renovation and Community Project secures National Lottery support

Children in the medieval pulpit on Open Day 21 July 2019

St Sylvester’s Church, Chivelstone, has received a grant of £384,300 from The National Lottery Heritage Fund for its Renovation and Community project. Made possible by money raised by National Lottery players, the project focusses on weather proofing the Church to preserve its medieval heritage and allow it to be used by the whole community for open days, concerts, plays and events.

The COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown has demonstrated just how precious access to our heritage sites is, and this project will ensure that many more people can enjoy St Sylvester’s in the future.

Supported by The National Lottery Heritage Fund, the project has two main themes.

 Firstly, it will allow significant repairs to be made to the building to ensure that the important medieval woodwork in the Church, which reflects both the local and national heritage, is preserved for future generations. It will also enable St Sylvester’s Church to continue to hold services, weddings and funerals for future generations.

Secondly, the project will promote the use of the Church for events aimed at bringing a much wider audience to the Church to learn about its heritage and importance to the local community. Many of these events will be aimed at the younger generation.

St Sylvester’s is located in Devon’s most southerly parish. The parish has had a long association with the sea and the graveyard contains graves of shipwrecked sailors. The Church is located in the small hamlet of Chivelstone in a remote rural setting which has been farmed since the bronze age.

The project has formed partnerships with several local organisations, including the South Devon AONB and the South West Maritime Archaeological Group, and together they will promote appreciation of the environment and knowledge of the important local maritime heritage by holding nature walks and displays in the Church.

The medieval woodwork in the Church includes a very fine rood screen, a parclose screen, a medieval barrel roof with carved and painted bosses, 18th century wall paintings and an extremely unusual 15th century pulpit carved and painted from a single piece of oak.

Commenting on the award Roger Tucker, local farmer and project Community Representative, said “We are thrilled to have received this support thanks to the National Lottery players. It is one of the most significant events in this parish and will help bring the community together, young and old.”


Notes to editors

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund


Using money raised by the National Lottery, we Inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.