Works starts on £4m project at Somerset church to mark milestone
A £4 million project is under way to make sure a church is looking its very best for a special anniversary.
Next year marks the bicentenary of the arrival of the Benedictine community at Downside, Stratton-on-the-Fosse.
In preparation for the 200th anniversary, Downside Abbey church will be restored. Scaffolding can now be seen outside the church.
Downside's church is the largest of the neo-Gothic style churches built in this country after the Reformation.
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So far £700,000 has been raised through donations and the sale of a property, enabling the start of phase one, the repair of the roof.
This first phase will take about a year and make the building wind and watertight and halt on-going damage to the internal stonework.
Fundraising will continue to raise the rest of the £4 million needed to complete the project.
The church will remain open for services as normal while the work takes place.