They may look like demons but these carvings in an Outwell church are national treasures and about to be protected

PUBLISHED: 11:20 04 September 2014 | UPDATED: 12:37 04 September 2014

Dr Charles Nelson showing the scaffolding now covering part of St Clement’s Church, Outwell. Picture: Steve Williams.

Dr Charles Nelson showing the scaffolding now covering part of St Clement’s Church, Outwell. Picture: Steve Williams.

Archant

Rare carvings that are an unusual find in churches across Europe are about to be protected thanks to a massive restoration project about to begin at a church in Outwell.

St Clement’s Church, Outwell. Picture: Steve Williams. St Clement’s Church, Outwell. Picture: Steve Williams.

Scaffolding covering part of St Clement’s Church in Outwell marks the first stage in an urgent repair project part-funded by a grant from English Heritage.

The rest of the money must come from a public fund raising drive to bring in the £50,000 needed.

Chairman of the Friends of the church, Kate Jackson, said: “The roof repairs will ensure that the building is watertight. We can then move on to the next phase where the water damage within the building can be addressed.

“Our aim is to raise funds for the complete project. Our sponsor a slate campaign is a key part of it. A £5 donation will sponsor one slate and the donor’s name will be entered in a special register which will be kept in the church.

St Clements Church Outwell St Clements Church Outwell

“We are grateful to English Heritage, The Heritage Lottery Fund and Norfolk Churches Trust for their grants and to everyone who has already made a donation.” The work about to begin on the eastern church end will make safe an area of decaying castellations.

This will be followed by repairing and retiling the roof to make it watertight.

Once this is done work will be carried out to protect the unique “demon” carvings inside the 13th century church.

The leaks threaten the 15th century carvings in the roof of the nave.

They show Apostles being held by sinister and sometimes gruesome figures - a combination thought to be unique in Britain and the rest of Europe.

Their rediscovery in 2012 triggered an application by the Parochial Church Council for a grant to investigate the carvings, prevent them being damaged further by water and death watch beetle and enable them to be seen properly by the public.

Whilst English Heritage approved a grant of approximately £170,000 for the work, the Parochial Church Council is also required to raise £50,000 in matching funds.

To sponsor a slate or donate contact membership secretary Dr Charles Nelson on 01945 774077 or email info@stclementsoutwell.org.uk.

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