A MEDIEVAL country church will receive essential repairs to its tower roof thanks to a £74,000 grant.

The cash was awarded to St Peter’s Church in Alvescot, near Brize Norton, by the Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage.

The 12th century church in Mill Lane – a Grade II listed building which is 902 years old – will also use the cash to repair the drainage system and stonework.

Church warden Tessa Farley, from Alvescot, said: “It is certainly a huge amount of money for a small church.

“We are absolutely delighted to have received it.

“The funding will be used for some repairs to the tower roof which is essential.

“It is not quite at the leak stage but if the tower roof was not repaired that would be the very next stage.”

She added: “At the moment we have got a lot of damp in the church and that is exacerbated by the guttering and pipes not working properly.”

The tower, built in the 14th or 15th century, is home to six bells, which are suspended from wooden beams.

Mrs Farley said surveys will be conducted by English Heritage this year and work will start as soon as possible in 2014.

She added: “It is really good news for our country church.”

The cash comes from the Repair Grants for Places of Worship scheme, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and administered by English Heritage.

Stuart McLeod, head of Heritage Lottery Fund South East, said: “Historic places of worship form prominent and much-loved landmarks in our villages, towns and cities across the South East.

“They are unique buildings that bring local communities together for a variety of reasons from worship through to culture and leisure.

“Since 1994, the Heritage Lottery Fund has invested more than £500m into these precious buildings across the UK and with these new grants we aim to ensure even more are secured for future generations to enjoy.”

Dr Andy Brown, English Heritage planning and conservation director for the South East, said: “Listed places of worship make up an elemental part of the historic fabric of England.

“It is crucial they are cared for and repaired. Thanks to the joint working between the Heritage Lottery Fund and English Heritage these wonderful buildings, which mean so much to so many, will remain part of our story for years to come.”

St Peter’s Church is among 19 churches in the South East to benefit from £1.8m from the fund, given to carry out urgent structural repairs.

The Church of St Peter and St Paul in Checkendon, South Oxfordshire, got £103,000 for roof repairs and replacement of parapet gutters.