Heritage Centre wins Heritage Lottery Fund support
St Nicholas’ Church in Pluckley is in need of significant masonry repairs to its walls but in order to apply for a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, there is a requirement that a knowledge and understanding of heritage is spread amongst the wider community in Pluckley. In order to facilitate this, it has been proposed that The Pluckley Heritage Centre and Archive Room should be established in the St Mary Chapel at the west end of the church.
A series of permanent interpretive panels will be fixed to the walls and these will provide information about the development of the church from Saxon times to the present day. Other permanent panels will also be exhibited to provide information on local interest, for example, about the Dering family and their connection with the village and also about the demolished St Mary’s Church. It is also proposed that some temporary panels with pictures and bulletins will be erected. Each church in the G7 group will feature the same permanent panel in their churchyard which will provide a short history of all seven churches.
The Parvis room will be used as an archive store, safeguarding documents and records in the centre. This will mean that Pluckley will finally be able to have its own archive containing records of important local events.
The centre will be manned at certain times during the week and members of the public will be able to access the archived documents. Research will be ongoing and leaflets and guides will be available. Volunteers will be trained to give history talks and tours. Volunteers will work closely with organisations within the village.
A Pluckley Heritage website is planned which will provide additional information and visitors will be able to receive assistance to trace relatives from the village or request help with their family tree. Data will be archived and digitally stored.
Strong links with Smarden Local History Society mean that it will be possible to hire Smarden’s digital equipment (worth £16,500) to capture documents and photographs which have been lent or donated by residents.
It is the intention that older members who have lived in and around the village will be interviewed and their memories, particularly wartime memories, will be preserved and made available.
A questionnaire is available so that members of the village can have their say in what they would like to see in the Heritage Centre.
The second round of the application to the Heritage Lottery Fund is due for submission in September 2016. Hopefully this will be accepted and The Pluckley Heritage Centre will come to fruition.
It is hoped that repair work will commence in April 2017 and be completed in the autumn of the same year. This will be followed by an official opening ceremony for The Pluckley Heritage Centre.
Stuart McLeod, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund South East, commented: “From tales of hauntings to the links to the Dering family, St Nicholas Church has certainly seen its fair share of history over the last 1000 years. National Lottery funding will bring this to life for visitors whilst also preserving the fabric of the important building so that it can continue to play a vital role in Pluckley for many years to come.”
The project will involve significant conservation and repair of parts of the Grade I listed building including the south aisle, south porch, Dering Chapel and eastern and south sides of the chancel.
About the Heritage Lottery Fund
Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about – from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife.