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Lottery money for Bristol\'s oldest building

15 January 2008

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has earmarked £3.2million for the restoration of Bristol\'s oldest building, the Grade I listed but dilapidated French limestone St James Priory.

The church, considered to be one of the most important Norman churches in the country, was originally built as a small priory for Benedictine monks, founded in the 12th century by Earl Robert of Gloucester.

It is said that the church was built from a tythe on the stone being imported for Bristol Castle - every 10th stone brought from Normandy for the castle was given for the construction of the priory. Late Norman features can still be seen in the sculptural detail of the western section.

In common with many other Bristol churches, St James Priory has the idiosyncrasy of one pinnacle rising higher than the other three.

The church is on the Buildings at Risk register and suffering from the ingress of water through a roof in urgent need of repair.

The church is owned by the Anglican Diocese of Bristol and leased to the St James Priory Project, who use it for the support and treatment of people with drug and alcohol addiction.

It is intended that the restoration work will provide training opportunities for some of the people being helped by the St James Priory Project.

Part of plan involves creating a new cafe, offering local people and visitors an opportunity to sit and enjoy this landmark.

The announcement of the allocation of funds to help restore St James Priory followed another announcement by HLF that it has allocated almost £13million for the regeneration of 13 towns and cities from all four corners of the UK, including Glasgow\'s Govan Cross, one of Scotland\'s most deprived areas, the seaside town of Morecambe, the Port Street area in Evesham, which suffered from flooding last summer, and Aberdare, Dolgellau and Flint in Wales.


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