For further information, you can download our latest leaflet (5MB - 4 pages A5 on A4 folded) and Christmas 2020 letter.
About the Friends
The Friends of St Leonard’s Flamstead is a charitable trust dedicated to preserving and maintaining the fabric of the ancient Grade I listed church that has stood at the heart of the village for nearly 900 years.
Friends are welcome from all religions or none, to share a respect for tradition, architecture, and contemporary village life. The Friends raise funds in a number of ways:
- the annual membership subscription
- fundraising events
- individual donations and bequests.
The Friends were founded in 1999. Our aim is to raise funds to preserve the church building and its surroundings, not just for the benefit of church goers but for the community as a whole.
Working alongside FoSL is Flamstead Heritage Group, a task force with a specific fixed-term goal of raising the huge sums required for the one-off repair of the nave roof and related activities. FoSL has a longer term remit but we have worked closely with the Heritage Group to save St Leonard’s from closure. Thanks to their efforts and the support of many generous supporters, the church has now been saved and 900 years of our tradition preserved.
Building works started in late 2020 and FoSL now needs your help for the next phase.
Following the roof repair, other key works are necessary: in particular to conserve the best mediaeval wall paintings in a Hertfordshire parish church. In the long term, proactive regular maintenence, carried out in time, is the only way to prevent expensive future repairs and keep the church in good order for its use as a spritual, community and heritage location. FoSL is working hard to secure the £40,000 that this will cost each year.
We are not involved in religious matters nor the day-to-day running or church activities, which are the responsibility of the clergy and the Parochial Church Council (PCC). The PCC has overall responsibility for the church building.
The Friends have supported a variety of projects such as the restoration of the tower and the overhaul of the roof. In the ten years from 2007 to 2017 the Friends contributed nearly £100,000 to help fund repairs at St Leonard’s.
Major grants have been made for the restoration of the north clerestory windows and adjoining walls totalling £87,000. Other Friends’ grants included £6,600 to pay for repairs to the copper covering of the nave roof, £3,500 for the repair of the south aisle roof and lead flashing and £1,000 towards repairs to the tower clock.
The photo shows crumbling stonework deteriorating behind a 1960’s fibreglass facade.
In 2017 the Friends committed £6,000 to the funding of the detailed survey of the roof recently carried out by the church’s architect and expert advisors.
More recently FoSL has contributed well over £100,000 to the EU LEADER project, to the acquisition of a fine, modern pipe organ, and to other modernisation projects. The LEADER project has transformed the church with esssential modern facilities: running water, a kitchen, WC, meeting and ringing rooms, and step-free access.
Current Projects Under Way
Grade 1 listed St Leonard’s had been placed on Historic England’s “Heritage at Risk” register in the most serious category.
However, renewal of the nave roof is now complete thanks to funding from the National Lottery, alongside a major local fund raising campaign and with a significant contribution from FoSL. This project has also restored the south clerestory windows.
Future Projects and Regular Maintenance
Damp penetrated over the years and threatened the important 13th and 15th century wall paintings. These paintings can only be restored when the damp has been eliminated. Once the roof and the windows are fixed, and the climate inside the building is stabilised, work can begin on the long overdue preservation of the wall paintings.
Many other parts of the church also need restoration by specialist craftsmen. The sacristy, adjoining the chancel, has badly eroded stonework and rotted woodwork. The exterior stonework of many of the windows on the north side is badly eroded. The bells badly need maintenance.
How you can help support St Leonard’s
You do not need to be a regular churchgoer or even a Christian to help. Many of our supporters only visit church at Christmas or for weddings; others are of different faiths or none. There are many ways you can help ensure that St Leonard’s and its churchyard survives for the benefit of future generations.
- join the Friends
- make a one-off donation by cash, cheque, direct payment or online
- leave the Friends a bequest in your will
- attend one of our fund raising events
- sponsor or help run our fund raising activities
- get added to our mailing list
Visit it the Support Us page for further details.
You can get in touch at the email address foslflamstead at gmail dot com (substituting “@” for “at” and “.” for “dot”). (This is the address for general enquiries; a different address is used for membership applications, donations, etc.)