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Fundraising Campaign Launch!

The official launch of our fundraising campaign on 5th March was also very much a celebration event!   An exciting digital illustration got proceedings underway which served to bring the proposals very much to life!

A full house of village residents heard presentations from the project team who recapped on the development journey up to the present. It was most exciting to learn that all permissions and approvals for the new Village Centre are now in place. We can now crack on with the necessary fundraising programme whilst being confident there are no ‘red-tape’ issues outstanding !

Villagers packed the school room to hear how everyone can be involved in the fundraising campaign.

Village Centre Project Team with guests Rt Hon. Edward Argar MP and Cllr James Poland.

An exciting display illustrating the prospective future uses of the new Village Centre. Images kindly borrowed from Stadhampton Village Centre where a similar project was completed 10 years ago.

Detailed images were displayed showing the drawings and elevations of the planned annexe

A display presenting some of the historic features and rich heritage within this ancient Grade II* listed building, very kindly researched and prepared by Lynne Ford

The work involved in this decade long project journey was illustrated with some of the numerous reports from specialist conservation and development consultants. These included reports from: archaeologist, engineering, English Nature (newts, bats), medieval timber specialist, monuments and stonework specialist, glazing conservators, arboriculturalist, flood risk assessment, environmental heating options, etc.

Two strands to the fundraising effort were set out. The project team called for villagers to volunteer their experience, skills and time.

The tea and home-made cakes added to a very enjoyable Sunday afternoon.

800 Years – 800 Candles!!

A very special celebration of Cossington’s Heritage was held on November 11th 2022 when a packed church building was entertained to a very creative programme of heritage, music and drama!!

Cossington 800 Years Celebration 11th November 2022 

Visitors were welcomed by an expert peel of the five church bells, and treated to a potted history of their amazing story, dating from 1450 (the oldest church bell in the area) to the 5th installation in 1910!  

An eyewitness account of village history was then shared by a special guest, the “Watcher”, a carved wooden face who has enjoyed a bats-eye view of the goings on in this building from the highest point in the nave ceiling, for all of these 800 celebrated years!  His wooden ears were also treated to nostalgic choral renditions of medieval hymns and tunes from the 14h century through to the 20th, kindly researched and sung by Rothley Church choir. 

Enjoy our video recording of the event, best watched ‘full-screen’ in a darkened room to better appreciate the remarkable historic atmosphere created by the enchanting music and the glow from hundreds of candles!

Faculty Approved!!

We are delighted to announce that a faculty has been approved (November 2022) for the plans to restore, re-purpose and extend the village church for community use, allowing us now to get on with actually establishing the envisaged Village Centre!

A ‘faculty’ is quite like Listed Buildings Consent for a church where the plans have to be considered by diocesan experts who consult with statutory consultees such as Heritage England, Victorian Society, the Society for Protection of Ancient Buildings, and the Local Authority.

Preparing the submission was a considerable piece of work with over a thousand pages of drawings, documents and reports all supporting the case for the restoration and re-purposing. Many revisions were required in the design development process to accommodate the advice from these expert organisations. Numerous specialist surveys were also needed to support and justify the proposed designs, from archaeological excavations  of sections of the church floor and churchyard, to detailed technical submissions of designs for the proposed new multi-layered damp-proof floor. We had to do flood risk assessments, arboriculturalist reports,  English Nature studies, churchyard percolation tests, and specifications for the various heritage buildings materials. Special consideration was required for conservation techniques and methods to be used to restore medieval furniture, monuments and the stain-glass windows. 

Securing the Diocesan Faculty and also Planning Approval from Charnwood  is a significant milestone. We can now be confident that every technical detail and permission has been considered and approved and now we can crack on with the fundraising campaign and  the phased delivery of new Village Centre!!

100 Years – Cossington Remembers

Cossington faithfully remembers the sacrifices of its sons and daughters every year. However 2018 was special indeed. Around fifty people attended our Centenary Act of Remembrance on Sunday 11th November, nearly four times more than normal, thanks perhaps to it being such a special anniversary occasion.  It was dry over head as the sun made a brief appearance whilst Church Warden Malcolm Kitching officiated.

The Parish Council had quite thoughtfully fixed large poppies on lamp-posts along Main Street and the flag was flying at half-mast.

The event was made all the more moving with the haunting notes of the trumpet sounding the Last Post  just before the ‘silence’, and the Reveille marking its end.  We are especially grateful to Cadet Luke Bartlett from Ratcliffe College for making the occasion very special in this respect.

After our Act of Remembrance everyone went across to the Vestry for some hot coffees & nibbles and also to see the WW1 commemorative display in the Church which was curated by our new village Heritage Group.

The Heritage Group had laid on a fascinating series of photographs with copies of records detailing things that were happening in the village during the war. Not many people were aware that we had Belgian refugee schoolchildren in the village, as indicated by the headmasters remarks recorded at the time, but we don’t know where they stayed?

However most moving were the silhouettes of three soldiers in the pews which really made people stop and reflect. To remember that these men of Cossington who died would most certainly have sat in these pews and prayed before being transported to the ‘front’.












Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Application

Update on Heritage Lottery Fund [Dec 2022]

With Covid-19 ‘behind us’ and given the news that the Faculty has been granted, the Project Group will now seek to revisit discussions with the Heritage Lottery Fund as part of the fundraising programme. Watch this space!! 


Update on Heritage Lottery Fund [2020]

Response to Covid-19: The HLF announced that it would not be considering any applications for new heritage projects during 2020/21,  rather it would focus available funds on previously funded heritage projects to ensure they remained viable during Covid-19. A further announcement detailing the position for 2021/22 should  be anticipated. 

In the interim the Project Group has been researching other prospective sources of project funding.


Update on our Church & Village Centre project [Spring 2019]

HERITAGE Lottery Funding (HLF) was the focus of our last news update when we were awaiting the outcome of our grant application. We now have mixed news to report which seems par for the course in this development journey!

The disappointing news first – basically our 2018 application was refused. However we were pleased to be invited to meet HLF officials in Nottingham who encouraged us to make a fresh application!  HLF said they recognise there is a case for an award for the conservation of the heritage associated with our existing Grade II* listed buildings.   Hence we felt encouraged and are currently planning a fresh application for heritage grant support which would be spent on the listed building part (only) of the project.

Update on our Church & Village Centre project [October 2018]

round one Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) application was submitted in August which was a very substantial 9,000 word document. Around six months of quite intensive work went into completing this application. Indeed working within the limited word-count was a very useful exercise requiring a concise distillation of the aims and objectives of our project. The section, “What work and consultation have you undertaken to prepare for this project, and why?” required trawling back through many years of efforts and seeing it compiled reminded us of just how far we have come since before the 2006 Parish Plan!

The application also required a name or expression to best reflect what the project is all about, which again required crystal clear clarity of thought . We believe that “Our Church, Our Cossington; Our Story, Our Future” succinctly encapsulates its essence.

There are 3 stages to securing HLF funding which is a lengthy and very considered process. If HLF are impressed with our round one application they will invite us to submit an even more substantial Round Two application. This would require fleshing out exactly how the round one vision and proposals would be developed; essentially it would be a very substantive action plan. Full details would be required for example from planning the proposed guided heritage tours to specifying the type of stone for the new stone floor in the church. It would effectively move our project to a state of readiness, like being at an ‘amber light’. The ‘green light’ would of course depend on HLF approval of any such round two application and the attendant award of the grant.

But of course round one success is required in the first instance.

Planning Permission Approved [Charnwood]

Planning Permission Renewed [August 2021]

Our 2018 planning approval from Charnwood lapsed after 3 years thanks to Covid-19 and required re-submission which was approved 18th August 2021.

Planning Permission Granted [Spring 2018]

Friday 16th February 2018 was a very special day! That’s when Charnwood Borough Council granted Planning Permission for the proposed Church & Village Centre project!! Everyone is delighted that this key milestone has been passed. Heartfelt thanks are extended to the 100’s of people who wrote letters or signed petitions in support,  or communicated their views in other ways.

The official letter (see Planning Approval Notice ) specified some quite reasonable conditions and the Project Group are already working on the next stages in the process. We now need to secure Listed Buildings Consent. This process is delegated to the Diocese where the listed building in question is a church.

This is quite an onerous process, and quite rightly so, given the extent of the heritage associated with our ancient church. The process will involve the commissioning of detailed surveys and conservation plans for works to the medieval church furniture and its ancient monuments. The plans for the extension must be detailed in every respect at this stage to reassure the decision makers including Historic England that the materials used will be sympathetic to the style of the main church and its setting.

2016 Restoration of Main Church Roof

A successful grant application to the Listed Places of Worship (LPOW) roof repair fund allowed the church project group to tackle the leaky Nave roof and Chancel roof a few years earlier than was planned.

In September 2016 contractors erected extensive scaffolding effectively cloaking the Chancel and the Nave from the weather.

Work then got underway to strip off the Swithland slates from the Chancel and also the old lead from the Nave roof.

There were a few surprises uncovered, namely the Chancel roof was of a traditional Scottish design characterised by 1-inch thick boarding (like floor boards) instead of horizontal batons. Apparently this meant that the rather irregular Swithland slates could be nailed on more easily because the nail-holes in the slates did not have to line up with batons underneath.

The boarding was also covered with a gungy mix of tar & horse-hair, instead of a bitumen felt. This required a rather messy operation to clean the boards, ready for the next stages. (see photos).  The boarded design also meant that the Chancel insulation plan had to be reconsidered because there were no batons between which insulation sheets could be inserted.  Permission was given by the Diocesan conservation authorities to lay a very thick layer of rock-wool insulation under the boards in the void that exists over the ‘barrel-design’ ceiling. Indeed we feel that this is actually a more effective insulation solution than that originally planned.

Whereas Chancel roof was a less tricky task. The lead was stripped off it and a tarpaulin fitted whilst the old lead was recycled by traditional methods by our specialist roofing contractor, Norman & Underwood. It was melted down and recast with some new lead to produce ‘as new’ lead sheeting. Insulation was also installed on the Nave roof, and the lead was then fitted by traditional methods. Indeed there was a French craftsman in attendance to learn from the N&U specialists!

The slated roof of the Chancel and the leaded roof of the Nave are now weather-proof for the next 100 years!

Archaeologists Explore the Floor!

In May 2016 a team of archaeologists from University of Leicester Archaeology Services (ULAS) spent a week exploring sections of the church floor and parts of the church-yard!

It is a requirement to investigate areas of listed buildings where development works are planned and was applicable because our Village Centre project involves installing a new stone floor and an extension to the north side. It was necessary for sections of the floor to be excavated and explored to ensure there were no artefacts or buried structures of archaeological interest that might be disturbed by the project. The 100cm external trenches uncovered nothing of significance, however the 40cm deep investigations of the old church floor revealed a Victorian heating system that has been out of action for decades.

It is not yet clear if it was a heated air or a heated water system. A brick-lined pit about 5 foot deep was discovered under an old wrought-iron grille. It was half-filled with water probably to the level of the prevailing water-table. Linked to this pit was an iron vent which in turn led to a much narrower brick-lined channel under the floor tiles. It seemed to go the length of the two aisles and across the back of the church, forking under the tower floor.

1998 Church Aisle Roof Restoration

Images (1998) showing works to the south Aisle roof.

All ancient churches develop roof problems over the years but thankfully they stay good for a century or so after being renewed!

Our church has 5 roof sections namely the Tower Roof, North & South Aisles, Nave (central section) and the Chancel (over communion rail) none of which have been touched since they were replaced during the last renovation of the church in the 1860s.

However an inspection carried out in 1994 revealed the need for extensive work to the north aisle roof.Rotting Timbers
Opening up of this part of the roof revealed that the main aisle roof timbers on that side were rotten and in urgent need of replacement. Further investigation by the architect indicated that it was likely that the south aisle roof timbers would be in a similar condition. This stimulated much village discussion on restoration from which emerged the original ideas of developing & extending the Church buildings for community use.

The Friends of All Saints Church (FASC) was established as a result to raise funds. Considerable efforts ensued to include the first of many Open Gardens events plus numerous village suppers, events and & raffles. In 1998 works got underway to replace the north & south aisle roofs and the Tower roof.

Further inspection eighteen years later found that the Chancel roof needed replacing. It is covered with Swithland slates but around two dozen of them have slipped or broken. North Slope of Chancel broken Slates

A lot of the pointing has fallen away whilst internally plaster is falling off the top right hand side of the east wall of the chancel, above the precious Strachan window.

Further more this inspection found that the lead sheet covering the central nave of the church has thinned considerably over its 150 years of service, so it too needs to be replaced. However when these works are done, the whole church roof should be good for another 100 years!

Thankfully these works to the roof have been included in the estimations for the overall Village Centre project! Work is due to start in the autumn of 2016 and the necessary scaffolding will be erected toward the end of the summer.

Funding for this has already been secured thanks to a grant of £109,800 from the National Heritage Memorial Fund (Listed Places of Worship) plus £20,000 from the Friends of All Saints Church (FASC.)

Completion of this will be a tremendous first step in the overall project to renovate and extend our church buildings to create the planned new Village Centre. (see next Post for update on these 2016/17 re-roofing works)

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