Grant joy for round church

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One of the country’s last remaining round churches has been handed a £5,000 grant.

St John the Baptist Church in Little Maplestead received the funding from the National Churches Trust.

The money will go towards repairing the gutters of the 13th century Grade II listed building.

A total of £42,000 has now been raised for a restoration project at the church, which was started by supporters two years ago.

A number of different phases of vital work have been carried out during this time, but The Friends of the Round Church – a registered charity set up to raise money for repairs – still has a long way to go before meeting a £100,000 target.

John Bloomfield, from the Friends of Essex Churches Trust, welcomed the donation but said there was still work to be done before the restoration was complete.

“This unique round church dates from around 1335 and is one of only four round churches still in use in England,” he said.

“Restoration took place in the 1850s, but the original design and composition of the rotunda that forms the nave remains, as do many of the earlier fittings. The church and community actively fundraise but are still short of their target.”