An historic South Hams Church has received a major funding boost.

St Lawrence at Bigbury is to receive almost £80,000 thanks to the support of the government’s Heritage Stimulus Fund.

Chief Executive of the National Churches Trust Claire Walker said: "The grant will facilitate the tower and spire repairs, safeguarding unique local heritage and help St Lawrence continue to support local people as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. It will also help remove St Lawrence from the Heritage at Risk Register."

Duncan Wilson, Historic England’s Chief Executive, said:

"Funding from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund is hugely welcome at a time when the people and organisations who look after our vast and varied array of heritage urgently need support to carry out essential repairs. Heritage is a fragile eco-system, with an amazing cast of characters who keep our historic places alive, with specialist skills that take time to learn and experience to perfect.

"These grants will protect their livelihoods, as they use their expertise to help our heritage survive."

The church

St Lawrence dates back to the 9th Century. Spanning the millennia, St Lawrence is home to a rich historic tapestry of beautiful features. There is a Norman font, medieval sedilia (priest’s seats), piscina (basin) and tomb recess, Tudor brass effigies, pulpit and stocks from the Elizabethan period, Georgian choir stalls,

Victorian pews and lectern and early 20th century stained glass (with inserts of older Tudor work). Besides its peal of six bells, there is also a genuine ship’s bell (from HMS Bigbury Bay), which was blessed in the church at the end of World War II. The church was "all but rebuilt" in 1872 and documents held by St Lawrence show that the restoration cost a total of £1,750-8-1.

A War Memorial chapel was added in 1920 designed by Edward Blomfield.

Salcombe history society are on the hunt for a new Chairman as longstanding Chariman Ken Prowse looks to take retirement after 11-years of service.

Salcombe History Society was founded by Ken Prowse in 2010 and launched at a public meeting at Salcombe Primary School, after growing out of the Facebook page Salcombe Old Locals and Yokels. 

It is now home to more than a thousand members and hosts more than 4,000 images as well as family and genealogy records for local families from Salcombe and the surrounding areas.

Ken Prowse has been the chair since the society’s formation and is now looking to retire. He said: "We are getting close to closing if we don’t get some new blood in some form."

Essentially, the society needs a Membership Secretary and a Treasurer, who would probably only be really needed about four times a year, but other people willing to take on jobs of inputting information from local people about their family trees and genealogy information would also be warmly welcomed.

There are some more 21st century jobs to be done too, with digitising images, some social media posts and website updates to be done, but people who can get involved can do "as much or as little as they want", according to Ken.

He said: "I still want to be involved with the society, but without any of the responsibility, it’s time for someone else to take over from me now."

The society, as well as documenting local history, also have prominent positions at local events such as the Kingsbridge Show or the South Hams Vintage Machinery Rally, where they share their knowledge and information about the bygone days in the area. They have projectors, tables, chairs and computers, everything to keep themselves busy, they just need a couple of people at the helm.

Asked what was the most fascinating thing he had discovered while researching the history of the area, Ken couldn’t put a finger on a single thing but said he had come across "lots of scandals".