The principal objective of this capital project was the refurbishment of the historic Church House at Crowcombe to provide a flexible community venue with modern accessible facilities for use by a range of community led groups and display facility for local artists.
ABOUT THE PROJECT
Crowcombe’s Church House, one of the two remaining church houses in Somerset, is a favourite West Somerset venue for a wide variety of events: exhibitions, courses, meetings, wedding receptions, family parties and the like. Two facilities are available for hire: a Gallery with its original arch-braced purlin roof with a capacity for 80 people, and a smaller Meeting Room.
Church House, Crowcombe, is grade ll* listed and has just celebrated its centenary as a charitable trust.
It was built at the turn of the 15th/16th centuries as a venue for village community parties (including “ales”) that hitherto had taken place in the church. Later, Puritan influences led to downstairs becoming a poor house and upstairs the Carew charity school.
Two centuries later Church House became effectively redundant when a workhouse was opened in Williton and a school was built for the children of Crowcombe within the village. Fortunately early in the 20th century Crowcombe’s Rector was determined that Church House should survive. In 1907 he obtained charitable status for the building and organized an appeal for funds to repair the fabric of the building. To this day Church House has been managed by volunteers drawn from the village.
Refurbishment of Church House
Church House’s centenary as a charity has been celebrated by a major refurbishment of the premises. £20,000 was raised by the village itself, and £55,000 from much appreciated grant awards from:
• The Foyle Foundation
• The Garfield Weston Foundation
• The Foundation for Sport & the Arts
• Viridor Credits
• Quantock Hills Sustainable Development Fund
• Somerset County Council
• Somerset Rural Renaissance Partnership
• West Somerset County Council
…whose generous contributions the Trustees of Church House acknowledge with gratitude.
The refurbishment project was completed on schedule for the re-opening of Church House with a village Pig Roast held on Sunday 6 May 2007 – to celebrate its new contemporary facilities, including:
• The new lighting of the building, including a track spot lighting system for the use of Exhibitions held in the Gallery
• The new oil-fired central heating system
• The new WC facilities, including a WC with direct wheelchair access for the disabled
• Fitting out of the Servery – available to hirers of the premises
• Conservation work to the external steps to improved access for the less-than-able
Church House Crowcombe and its new facilities will contribute over the coming years to the rural economy of West Somerset and its diversification. As a venue for courses and training it will be playing its part in the tackling of barriers to local employment and skills gaps.