St Denis’ is now an award winning church
First prize in a major competition
for ʻBest conservation’
By Peter Mann
St Denis’ church in East Hatley, Cambridgeshire, has won a major ‘Best conservation’ award.
The Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service and the Cambridge Forum for the Construction Industry (CFCI) runs an annual competition for the best construction projects completed in Greater Cambridge.
These include conservation, alterations or extensions to existing buildings as well as new buildings.
For 2023, there were eight project award categories – and St Denis’ won the Best Conservation, Alteration or Extension of an Existing Building (under £2m construction costs) category.
Submission for the award was made by Stephanie Norris, the Impington based architect who, on behalf of the Friends of Friendless Churches, has overseen the restoration of St Denis’ since the FoFC took ownership of the church in 2016.
Their work has included a new floor, new windows, repairing the reredos and replastering the nave. On the FoFC’s ‘to do’ list is a new east window. The church was declared redundant in 1959.
The judging panel was chaired by Dame Fiona Reynolds, former master of Emmanuel College Cambridge and former director-general of the National Trust.
The judges’ commented:
“This is a delightful and heart-warming project. St Denis’ church was closed and stripped out in the 1960s and left to become almost derelict, smothered in ivy and structurally unsafe.
“Taken on by the Friends of Friendless Churches and with strong community support, it has finally received the attention it deserved. The church has been transformed, given new life and added value for the local community.
“We found the enthusiasm from and engagement with the local community particularly inspiring, and hope the church will be used for many events now that is has been brought back to life from the very brink.”
Those involved in the restoration of St Denis’ are listed on the CFCI’s website.
- The award is also celebrated on the Friends of Friendless Churches website – which includes some interesting historic photos as well as a reference to the ‘Heritage Heroes of Hatley’…
St Denis’ is open daily from around 8.30 am to dusk to look round or for quiet contemplation.
There is much more information about St Denis’ in the churches section of this website.
Post created 7th April 2023; extra photos and information added 21st April 2023.