Page last updated at 10:57 GMT, Sunday, 30 August 2009 11:57 UK

Cash grant saves medieval chapel

St Mary's Church in Mundon. Pic: Friends of Friendless Churches (used with permission)
St Mary's has an unusual early 16th Century timber-framed belfry

A medieval chapel next to a moated manor house in Essex has been preserved after receiving a £138,000 grant from English Heritage.

St Mary's Church in Mundon, which has an unusual early 16th Century timber-framed belfry, needed the funds to carry out urgent repairs.

The instability of the clay under the church led to fears the east end wall might collapse.

The church also has Georgian wall paintings which were under threat.

Matthew Saunders, honorary director of The Friends of Friendless Churches, said: "Mundon may be small but the bills we faced were enormous and English Heritage's generosity came at just the right moment.

"We still need to attend to the painting in the nave but the very real risk that the Georgian chancel would collapse has now been averted."

The Friends of Friendless Churches, who care for the chapel, were given £138,000 funding by English Heritage to carry out essential repairs.

These included piling, underpinning, stitching cracks, plaster repairs and conservation of the wall paintings.

The pews needed to be completely dismantled to gain access to the walls and floors and have been carefully re-assembled.

The church dates at least from the 14th Century, was extended in the 16th Century, and again in the 18th, since when it has remained virtually unchanged.

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