A medieval church tower has been saved from threatened collapse after being awarded £280,000 in emergency funding.
The 14th Century St Mary’s Church in North Tuddenham, near Dereham, Norfolk, has been granted the money by Historic England in an “exceptional case”.
The Grade I listed building was put on its “at risk” register in 2017.
Mike Smith, the church’s fabric officer, said the structure was “steeped in 650 years of history” that he had feared would be “lost forever”.
Places of worship are not normally entitled to apply for Historic England grants, but the government body said it stepped in to prevent the partial ruin of the west tower.
Mr Smith described the grant for the “stunningly beautiful” site as a “fantastic offer of help”.
“I hope their act of generous support is followed by other charities so we can repair the tower and enjoy this church for many, many years to come,” he said.
Tony Calladine, Historic England’s eastern regional director, said: “The church is an important historic building, treasured by its local community, and it was imperative to act urgently to ensure the church is saved and protected.”
Urgent works will now be carried out to stabilise the tower, which is the earliest part of the building and houses a bell dating back to about 1380.
It had major defects including structural cracks, which had been temporarily repaired.
Funding will pay for the tower to be underpinned as well as extensive work to the north-west and south-west tower buttresses, tower walls and parapets plus a new drainage system.

Courtesy BBC News