Bringing new life to Hopton ruins
Dominic Bareham STOOD behind an iron fence with signs up warning visitors not to enter its grounds for their own safety, the 800-year-old St Margaret's Church ruins in Hopton cut a forlorn landmark in the village.
STOOD behind an iron fence with signs up warning visitors not to enter its grounds for their own safety, the 800-year-old St Margaret's Church ruins in Hopton cut a forlorn landmark in the village.
But that is all set to change following the launch of a �300,000 regeneration project to bring new life to the historic site and open it up again to the local community.
Once the ruins have been stabilised, work will begin to create two community rooms, a coffee shop and an outdoor patio area where people can relax with a cup of tea - all within the confines of the ruins which will not be touched.
The project was launched at the church in Coast Road on Monday by Brian Howard, who sits on Hopton Parish Council's special sub-committee guiding the project.
He was joined by Great Yarmouth mayor Tony Smith, local clergyman Brian Whisen and Tony Gent, chairman of the Redundant Churches Users Committee, which looked after the ruins until the parochial church council took on responsibility for them in 1992.
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Mr Smith said it was a pleasure to launch the “Save Our Stones” scheme and he had an interest in bringing old buildings back to life through his role as director of the Great Yarmouth Preservation Trust.
He said: “It is lovely when you can take a building that is deserving of saving and give it a life back. It is wonderful to save a place where people can meet and things can happen. What can be better than 1,000 years of stability, which this building represents, being saved for at least another 100 years?”
Mr Howard said: “The parish council have recently purchased the site with heritage in mind to restore the ruins as much as we can and give something back to the village in some way, shape or form.”
Canon Whison spoke of the church's associations with St Margaret of Antioch, who is considered to be the patron saint of pregnancy, while Mr Gent spoke of his delight the ruins were being brought back to life.
The ruins sub-committee is hoping to receive funding from English Heritage for the project, while online donations can be made through the church's website www.oldstmargarets.com.