Most Sundays at 9:15am. See SHELLEY SERVICES AND EVENTS for details.
Shelley is one of Suffolk's most remote and prettiest villages, reached via winding country lanes. All Saints' Church was built probably in the 13th or early 14th century, with the tower being added about a century later. Unusually, the tower is at the north of the church, effectively at the back, as access is from the south. The vestry was originally a chapel built for the Tylney family after the Reformation. The family seat of the Tylneys at that time was nearby Shelley Hall (itself a Grade I listed building, not open to the public). Thomas Tylney married Elizabeth Gosnold Tylney, sister of Bartholomew Gosnold who founded Jamestown, the first English settlement in America. Elizabeth is also buried within the church. In 2005, after discovery near Jamestown of a grave thought to be that of Bartholomew Gosnold, amid world-wide publicity remains entombed in Shelley church and believed to be Elizabeth's were exhumed to enable a DNA comparison to be made. However, identification of the Jamestown body remains uncertain, as the body in Shelley Church thought to be Elizabeth's turned out to be that of a much younger woman, possibly Anne Framlingham who had married Philip Tylney of Shelley Hall in 1561 and died around 1601. Philip Tylney had a tomb made for his mother, Dame Margaret Tylney, who died in 1598. This tomb can be seen in a recess on the north wall inside the church.
Our recent five-yearly inspection has revealed some serious problems with the north side of the nave roof. This was last worked on in the 1970’s, and back then the tiles were fixed with mortar rather than pegged. The mortar has now deteriorated to such an extent that leaks are visible and urgent repairs needed. An emergency patch has offset the problem for the short term, but we have to prepare for a major, and expensive, roof repair job in 2024. Formalities have begun and the right professional advice is in place. We hope the work can be scheduled for early autumn 2024. This time of year avoids the maternity and hibernation periods of bats (if there are any), and crucially, precedes any change in our ability to recover VAT.
The Listed Places of Worship Grant Scheme
Even though it is a place of worship, repair work on a church normally incurs 20% Value Added Tax. Thanks to a grant scheme run by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, churches are usually able to recover this VAT in full. The scheme is currently only funded until 31 March 2025, however, with no certainty of an extension. This means we need to get the work done in time, or pay an extra 20%. As do many other churches!
How much will it cost?
The work is estimated at around £44,000, including all necessary fees and a contingency for inflation. This will go up to £52,800 if the VAT cannot be recovered in time. The church maintains an ongoing Fabric Fund for repairs, with contributions from past donors and grants. While this can cope with routine maintenance there is not enough in the fund to cover the work on the roof, and we need to raise extra money. The Fabric Fund will contribute about £10,000 towards the £44,000 needed, leaving £34,000 shortfall.
How will the shortfall be met?
The Parochial Church Council has appointed a small team to find ways of generating the extra money. These include applications to trusts and foundations, fundraising events, and an appeal to local residents and friends of Shelley Church. We also want to make it as easy as possible to donate online towards the upkeep of the building. Both national and regional charitable trusts have helped Shelley Church generously in the past. In 2016 we were awarded £20,000 by Viridor Credits Environmental Company, through the Landfill Communities Fund, and another substantial grant from Garfield Weston Foundation, to help pay for a new accessible lavatory and servery in the church tower. These are now in regular use by the current parishioners, and enable people from further afield to join us for services, including weddings. We are very grateful to the trusts and foundations who have helped previously. The Church Roof Team have identified several bodies to approach, some for the first time, some old friends. Work on the applications has begun. Because trust meetings take place across the year, however, the results will not be known for some time. Several trusts expect to see evidence of funding secured by other means (in some cases, up to 50%) before they will consider an application. Our hope is to achieve 25%–65% of the shortfall through grant applications. Work has also started on a programme of fundraising events that will hopefully achieve up to 15% of the funds we need. This still leaves a gap.
The Church Roof Appeal
An appeal has gone out to church goers, local residents and friends living further afield, to raise a substantial part of the shortfall. We hope that many people – both those who worship, and those who do not – will want to help preserve the unique charm and character of this remote and much-loved church, nestling in the Brett Valley. If you are able to help All Saints Church Shelley, please do. You can donate online using this link. Contributions can also be made by BACS to 'Shelley Parochial Church Council', sort code 20-44-51, account number 60803030. You can boost your donation by 25p of Gift Aid for every £1 you donate by notifying the appeal administrator, Church Warden Sally Westwood,
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