All Saints’ in Leamington has been given nearly £100,000 to carry out essential roof repairs to the 19th century Gothic town centre church.
It is part of £243,600 given to churches in mid and south Warwickshire by the Listed Places of Worship Roof Repair Fund for urgent work.
And All Saints’ in Ladbroke, which dates back to the 13th century, has been given £76,300 for repairs.
Other churches to benefit from the Government pot of £30 million for 502 buildings include £38,600 for Ss Peter and Clare, Fenny Compton; £20,200 for St Michael and All Angels, Stockton; and £11,600 for St Chad’s, Bishop’s Itchington.
Fr Christopher Wilson, of All Saints’ Leamington, said the £96,900 will be used to repair the roof over the south aisle of the Anglican church.
The area in front of the church is prone to wind turbulence, which blows up plastic bags, sweet wrappers and takeaway containers. Fr Wilson said that the rubbish often blows up onto the roof, where it gets mixed with pigeon droppings and nesting materials, which clog up the rainwater system and narrow drainpipes.
He said: “That’s one of the reasons we don’t encourage e people to feed the pigeons.”
The work will include stripping off roof tiles and renewing the timbers, but Fr Wilson said over the next few years most of the roof will need replacement or repairs.
“It’s an extremely troublesome roof which leads to water coming into the church, which leads to dry rot.
“We’ve got an iconic building and we are privileged to be caring for it, but it does take a considerable amount of care.
“We are delighted to get this grant from the fund.
“We try to make it as accessible to as many as possible, and not just to churchgoers.”
All Saints’ Leamington is one of the largest Church of England parish churches and is said to rival some cathedrals in size. Its annual insurance cost is £15,000 with up to £15,000 for maintenance.
The parish has recently been awarded £10,000 from the Royal Leamington Spa Conservation Trust towards redecoration of the Lady Chapel.
At All Saints’ in Ladbroke, church warden Jackie West said: “We are extremely grateful for the help from the fund.”
She said the problem was the rainwater run-off system and repairing and replacing ornamental metal down pipes and guttering, thought to be at least 100 years old.
She said: “It costs a lot of money to fix things high up when it’s Grade-I listed. We can’t put up cheap plastic guttering and there’s all the scaffolding costs.
“We’re only a small parish and there’s always work to be done. It’s a bit like the Forth Bridge. The news of this grant is a fantastic, but we still have a long way to go.”
She said yearly running costs are around £30,000, which also includes insurance.