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Architectural Heritage Fund Awards Grant for Exeter Cathedral’s Church House

Exeter Cathedral has been awarded a £35,000 grant to help fund essential investigation work at its historic Church House building.

The grant – which is funded by the government’s Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport – has been awarded by Architectural Heritage Fund, a charity which promotes the conservation and sustainable re-use of historic buildings for the benefit of communities across the UK.

The Grade II* listed 18th century mansion, which adjoins the Cathedral’s Cloisters, currently provides accommodation for Exeter Cathedral’s musical scholars and meeting rooms for volunteer groups, as well as housing the Cathedral Café kitchens and visitor toilets.

The building was developed in 1796 from an earlier medieval canon’s house, and a serge market which was built over the demolished southern cloister walk in the 17th century.

It is hoped that the investigations will establish ways in which Church House can be sympathetically restored so that it can continue to be a functional space for future generations, as the Dean of Exeter, The Very Revd Jonathan Greener, explains:

“Church House is a beautiful and historically-important mansion, but also a crucial space for the functioning of the Cathedral and for our visitors and local community. However, it is now in urgent need of restoration and repair, and improvements to the visitor facilities are long overdue.”

“This fantastic award from Architectural Heritage Fund comes at a time when nearly all of our usual revenue sources are suspended due to coronavirus. It enables us to carry out the necessary investigations to determine how this building can continue to improve the visitor experience and serve the community for the 21st century.”

For Architectural Heritage Fund’s CEO, Matthew Mckeague, the charity’s support for Exeter Cathedral is just part of a nationwide drive to help historic sites prepare for the future in a time of uncertainty:

“The COVID-19 crisis has brought unparalleled uncertainty to the heritage sector, with organisations that rely on visitor income or community group usage shuttered for most of the past year. However, these grants will support organisations in becoming more resilient as they emerge from the crisis.”

“For 45 years, the Architectural Heritage Fund has been committed to supporting communities to develop sustainable new uses for their much-loved historic buildings. We are pleased to have been able to offer this additional support to Exeter Cathedral at a time of extraordinary need, and are very grateful to DCMS for funding these vital grants.”