£25,000 grant support for Cathedral roof project


St Macartin's Cathedral Enniskillen.

St. Macartin's Cathedral, Enniskillen, is to receive a £25,000 grant from the National Churches Trust to help with their roof and stonework repairs and help safeguard the heritage of the Cathedral and enable it to continue to serve the local community

Funding for the grant comes from the Department for Communities Historic Environment Division’s Covid-19 Culture, Languages, Arts and Heritage Support Programme.

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey said: “I am delighted that I have been able to provide this support. This will help catalyse renewal activity and animate communities affected by Covid-19 by working with them to tackle the issues faced by our historic church buildings which at the heart of our communities. Churches have played a critical role in the Covid-19 response and it is fitting that they now become part of our renewal through increased focus on conservation- led repair of heritage fabric, together with provision of new facilities to help ensure their continued use into the future.”

Broadcaster and journalist Huw Edwards, Vice President of The National Churches Trust, said: “I’m delighted that St Macartin’s Cathedral, Enniskillen is being helped with a £25,000 grant from the National Churches Trust thanks to the support of the Department of Communities in Northern Ireland. The repairs will facilitate roof and stonework repairs.”

“The grant will help safeguard unique local heritage and to help St Macartin’s Cathedral continue to support its wider community as we begin to emerge from COVID-19 pandemic.”

A total of 67 churches and chapels in England, Wales Scotland and Northern Ireland will benefit from the latest grants from the National Churches Trust, the charity supporting church buildings of all Christian denominations across the UK.

This is the first round of grants made by the National Churches Trust in 2021. Last year the Trust has awarded, or recommended on behalf of other funders, 260 grants amounting to £1.7 million.

St Macartin's Cathedral, until 1923 known as St Anne's church, dates from from the early 1600s. It was enlarged in 1842 and further modified in 1923 when it was raised to the status of a cathedral within the Clogher Diocese.

The cathedral is in a neo-Perpendicular Gothic style with six bay, clerestoried nave, north and south aisles, vestry and square two-stage tower with parapet and tall slender central spire, a staircase outshot completes the form.

St Anne's was an Ulster Plantation Church, built by William Cole, founder of the town of Enniskillen. It is a Grade A Listed building and, in addition to its architectural interest, possesses many features and items of very significant historical importance. It contains statues of two members of the Cole family (founders of the town) and the Cole family vault is under the building. The cathedral has superb stained glass windows, some of which are regarded as among the best in Ireland.

The north wing is home to the Inniskillings Regimental Chapel. Enniskillen is the only town In Ireland to have raised two regiments bearing the name of the town. The Chapel contains many of the Regiments' laid-up colours. A Book of Remembrance, which lists those who gave their lives in military campaigns dating back to the Battle of Waterloo, is prominently displayed. There are memorials in the cathedral listing those who served and those who lost their lives in the Boer War and in the First and Second World Wars.

The grant will support roof and stonework repairs.

The Very Reverend Kenneth Hall, Dean of the Diocese of Clogher said: “The Dean and Select Vestry of St Macartin’s Cathedral very much appreciate the award of £25,000 from the National Churches Trust towards the costs of re-roofing and restoring the cathedral. The total cost of the restoration work, including internal redecoration, will be about £450,000 (excluding VAT).

'The award from the National Churches Trust will give the parishioners and the local community much encouragement as they continue with their major fund raising campaign. It is hoped that the restoration work can be completed in time for the 2022 celebrations to mark the 400th anniversary of the appointment of the first rector of the church.”