Northamptonshire Historic Churches Trust

Since the Northamptonshire Historic Churches Trust was founded in 1955 it has provided nearly 1500 grants for repairs and improvements to many churches and chapels of all Christian denominations throughout Northampton and Northamptonshire. The Trustees awarded £40,500 in grants in 2021 and £61,500 in 2022. Funds are managed so that they are available for grants in future years.

Funding for our grants comes from the Trust's share of funds raised through the annual Ride & Stride Sponsored Event and Church tours and from generous donations and grants to the Trust.

The Northamptonshire Historic Churches Trust welcomes grant applications from Christian places of worship of any denomination in the Northamptonshire.

To be eligible for a grant the church or chapel must be within the County of Northamptonshire and in regular use as a place of worship. Each year the Trust helps between 20 and 40 places of worship of all denominations and ages. The Grants Committee is also able to advise churches on other sources of grant aid.

Grants are awarded for a wide range of repairs and conservation projects. Please note we do not award grants retrospectively.

Extremely urgent ‘stitch in time’ grants to pay for small but critical repairs identified in a Quinquennial Inspection Report are also available.

Grants are also paid to parishes that are not already members of the Trust, but we would ask them to consider joining.

We fund a very wide range of work that is urgently required to keep the fabric of a place of worship in good condition.

The list below covers the most common problems but is not exhaustive so please get in touch if you have repairs that are not listed.

What we can and can’t fund. For repair of the structure of the building priority is given to repairs, improvements, reinstatement of features, or repair of furniture and fittings. Grants are not usually offered to new works, however this is at the discretion of the Trustees.

  • Roof repairs including repairs to slates.
  • Installation of alarms roofs limited to £500.
  • Repair and restructuring of rainwater goods and drainage We do not help with work which should be carried out as part of routine maintenance such as clearing of gutters, and redecoration.
  • Window repairs – glazing and tracery.
  • Renewal of interior plaster interior decoration when it is part of internal wall repairs and replastering.
  • Repairs to floors and pew platforms
  • Repairs to fixtures and fittings including pews, monuments, organs infrastructure but not the instrument.
  • Conservation of wall paintings and stonework.
  • Repairs and refurbishment of bell frames, but not bells.
  • Renewal of switchgear for electrics
  • Rewiring or lighting work
  • Replacement heating schemes
  • Churchyards (so long as the churchyard is still under the responsibility of the Church Council and open for burials).
  • Re-ordering projects which will improve the use of the church by the community, including disabled access, toilets, and serveries.
  • We may offer grants to support the costs of installation or repair of heating systems, toilets and/or kitchen facilities, where this would contribute significantly to the community life of the church.
  • We may offer grant for the replacement of core electrical installations if the current installation is unsafe to the point of being a threat to the building.
  • We may give toward the repair of window glass if it is of historical importance.
  • Other items of exceptional historic value may also be eligible.
  • We are unable to fund re-ordering projects, installation of new facilities or extensions to the buildings.
  • We do not fund surveys or reports.

We try to make our application process as quick and simple as possible.

Please start by downloading a Grant Application Form or completing the online application. Have a look at the questions so you know what information you will need to collect before completing it.

If you need help, please contact the Grant Secretary. We are only a phone call away and are very happy to talk on the phone or arrange a visit if that is more helpful. Above all, please do not feel intimidated by the form. It can be completed and returned as an attachment to an email, or sent by post either typed, or handwritten.

When returning / completing the application form we will also need your latest PCC accounts, quotations for the work (if you have them) and a specification or letter from your church architect for more complex repairs. Please send a supporting letter with any additional background information you may want to provide. Photographs of the area under consideration are very helpful.

The Grants Committee meets twice a year. We ask that grant applications be returned to us as far in advance of these meetings as possible. Failure to meet the deadlines below may result in the application having to be deferred to the next Grants meeting.

Application Deadline Trustee Meetings
20th March 2023 18th April 2023
9th October 2023 14th November 2023
March 2024 April 2024
October 2024 November 2024

Necessary and of appropriate priority

The work should have been identified in the most recent Quinquennial Inspection report (or equivalent survey) as being the next priority, and we will expect to see a copy of the report (or relevant part). We will of course also consider an application for emergency repairs not mentioned in a survey report when the need for them could not reasonably have been foreseen.

Carried out to a 'conservation standard'

Work should be carried out in a way which minimises change to the building, does not unnecessarily disturb or replace historic fabric, and uses traditional materials and methods which are appropriate to the building. In exceptional cases we may accept as eligible the use of modern materials where these can be justified. There is no minimum or maximum size of project which may be considered for grant. A project may consist of two or more separate phases, and each phase may be considered for an offer of grant. We are unlikely to make an offer on a new phase if there is an outstanding offer on a phase which is neither complete nor near to completion. We cannot help with any costs which were or should have been covered by insurance.

Before applying

Potential applicants for grants are encouraged to discuss their case with the Grant Secretary to the Trust before completing an application form; this can save time and effort. We may wish to make a visit to your church prior to consideration of your application. Unless the application is for emergency repairs, applications are normally requested one month prior to Trustee Board meetings. All applications will be acknowledged.

Assessing your application

If the building and works are eligible for grant, we assess the need for help in the context of the church's resources, both actual (including any grants already awarded) and potential. We need to see a copy of all relevant latest financial accounts. Professional fees and VAT are not eligible for grant, although in the case of a listed church we expect that all or most of the VAT paid will be recovered under the Listed Places of Worship (LPW) grant scheme. If the project might reasonably be expected to be offered a grant under the Heritage Lottery Fund's Grants for Places of Worship programme.

Starting work

If you start the work before you apply for a grant, unless if the work endangers lives or make a building un unsafe, we will assume that you can afford the project without our help, and the application will be rejected. If work must start after you have applied but before you have received an offer from us, you must contact the Trust to make the case for the application still to be considered.

Grant offers and payment

Decisions on grant applications are made by the Trustees, who meet once a twice a year. If Trustees award a grant, you will receive an offer in writing. The grant is valid for a three-year period therefore applicants should consider the timing of their application. An offer is subject to conditions. which are outlined in a separate Guidance Note. Payment of the grant is made when the works are complete. All payments are made via cheque and must be paid to the official account of the applicant body, we cannot make payment to personal bank accounts.

For churches within the Church of England, a faculty is not required for the installation of a roof alarm system. This only requires notice to the Archdeacon of the intention to install a roof alarm and his written consent to its installation.

Metal theft from churches is, regrettably, all too common. As well as damaging our beautiful and historic buildings, it causes expense, distress and frustration. Replacement and subsequent insurance can be costly. A roof alarm goes a long way towards deterring the thieves.

Applications for funding under the scheme should be made to Michael Moore, NHCT's Grants Secretary, at 1 Horrocks Way, Kettering NN15 5DH (Tel: 01536 483505 email: