Christ Church Parish, Derriaghy, has received a grant of £20,000 from the National Churches Trust to help fund vital repairs to the church’s landmark spire.
The church is one of 54 churches and chapels in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to benefit from rescue funding of £310,060 from the National Churches Trust, the UK’s church support charity.
Huw Edwards, Broadcaster and Journalist and Vice-President of the National Churches Trust, said: “At the heart of communities in cities, towns and villages, churches are a treasure trove of architecture, history and faith. I’m delighted that Christ Church, Derriaghy, is to be saved for the future with the help of a £20,000 National Churches Trust Repair Grant.
“This will help ensure the future of this historic Antrim church, with its iconic steeple a landmark of the local landscape.”
The project helped by the National Churches Trust will repair the spire, a prominent feature on this Grade A listed building. Significant weather damage and corrosion has resulted in the crumbling of stone work in the spire. Iron elements have rusted and expanded, fracturing the masonry. Falling masonry is currently a potential hazard. Without the work, this iconic building would have to close.
The project will dismantle, repair, and replace the stonework and ironwork to secure the structural integrity of the spire, bell tower, and gable. The parish and wider community are very supportive of the work, which will help to engage a wider audience with the heritage of the church.
Christ Church was built in 1872, on a site where there has been a church since the 13th century. It is a classic example of the architectural work of Gillespie and Welland.
It is described by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency as ‘one of the most striking churches in Northern Ireland… [with] the distinctive steeple and the crow stepped gable…the local landscape and the idyllic setting makes the church of particular importance.’
Robert Stinson, a member of Select Vestry, said: “The parishioners of Christ Church, Derriaghy, greatly appreciate the support given by The National Churches Trust which will enable them to begin work on replacing the church spire which has been a distinct feature of this place of worship since it was built in 1872.
“This support has created a confidence that will see us through the project and we look forward to its completion and having a church that will remain open for worship for another 100 years or more.”