St Mary's is a small church but its elevated position, on a hill above the road between Hereford and Abergavenny, makes it a striking local landmark.
The earliest fabric of the church dates from the 1100s, but it's possible that the site was established by early Christians who venerated St Cynidr, a Welsh bishop who is thought to have given the village of Kenderchurch its name.
The church was substantially rebuilt in the 1870s but it retains architectural features and furnishings from the medieval period through to the 18th century, including a 12th-century font, partially-medieval screen and a Jacobean oak pulpit and altar table.
The church is very close to one of the UK's largest sawmills, and the small village (just a few houses) is separated from the church by train tracks and the the busy A465. After languishing for more than a decade as a friendless church with an uncertain future, St Mary's now joins our collection of historic churches across England and Wales. St Mary’s is the 64th church to come into our care, and the fifth church we’ve adopted this year alone. We are only able to help these churches with the support and generosity of our members, so thank you for helping us to do more.
Major repairs in the pipeline
We plan to prioritise and spread repairs needed over a five-year period to manage our financial resources. In the first phase of repair we'll tackle external elements (e.g., roofs, rainwater goods, high level stonework and prioritised windows) and increase natural ventilation internally to help dry out the interior. Much repointing of external walls is also needed, and as well as external drainage improvements.
Phase two focuses largely on the interior: tiled floors and boarded floors require major work and, ideally, the walls should be (possibly) re-plastered and redecorated. Fittings inevitably require attention too, though environmental improvements are the best means of mitigating the impact of decay and beetle attack.
We expect the repairs in total to cost in excess of £250,000 (excluding professional fees from the architect, engineer, etc.). As we do not receive any regular funding in England, memberships, donations and other fundraising activities will be crucial to ensuring that St Mary's, Kenderchurch continues to stand firm on its hilltop for generations to come.