Funding boost to help reopen part of Seaton Delaval Hall's grounds
Work is to be carried out reopening an area of land to the public and reconnect it to an historic attraction.
Historic England has awarded a grant of £316,000 towards the restoration of Seaton Delaval Park and Garden.
The grant will fund the repair of one of four corner bastions and the ha ha wall around the churchyard of the Church of Our Lady, which from part of the early 18th century boundary enclosing the Grade II* registered pleasure grounds of Seaton Delaval Hall.
The Grade I-listed Church of Our Lady dates back to the early 12th century where for 700 years it served as the private chapel of the Delaval family before it was gifted to the Church of England in 1981 and has since served as the Delaval Parish church.
While most of the boundary wall, the three other bastions and surrounding parkland are owned by the National Trust, the bastion and ha ha surrounding the churchyard are owned by Delaval Parochial Church Council.
The repair project work will open up the historic churchyard as an attractive green space for public enjoyment and allow the grounds of the Church of Our Lady and the rest of the Seaton Delaval landscape to be enjoyed together.
The full cost of the project is £324,000 and is also being funded by Friends of the Church of Our Lady and a donation from Lord Hastings to the Delaval Parochial Church Council.
Trevor Mitchell, Regional Director for Historic England in the North East and Yorkshire, said: “During lockdown, we have rediscovered the value of our historic parks and gardens as places to exercise and lift our spirits.
"This repair project will do much to improve access to Seaton Delaval Park and Garden, providing clear mental and physical health benefits to visitors and locals.”
Revd David Bowler, Vicar of Delaval, said: “This project has been a number of years in the making and on behalf of the Parish of Delaval PCC I would like to thank the team at Historic England for their great encouragement and support.
"Seed funding was kindly provided by Lord Hastings and the Friends of Our Lady and now with support from the Friends, Northumberland County Council and the National Trust the PCC looks forward to fully opening the church and churchyard for generations to come for the spiritual, mental and physical wellbeing of our local community and all who visit.”
Emma Thomas, National Trust General Manager of Seaton Delaval Hall, said: “We’re thrilled that Historic England has supported the Church of Our Lady in this way.
"The Church of Our Lady is such a significant part of the history of the site and it is so important that the bastion and ha-ha wall is being conserved for all to enjoy and experience the grounds safely.
"We were delighted to be able to provide technical experience and support to the Church of Our Lady as a result of our own project.”
Coun Jeff Watson, cabinet member responsible for parks and heritage at Northumberland County Council, said: “I am delighted that funding has been secured to restore this important heritage asset in Seaton Delaval and am pleased the County Council, working with Delaval Parochial Church Council, has been able to agree a programme of future maintenance that will ensure this area can be enjoyed by visitors long into the future.”