An ancient church has been given a share of £429,211 from the National Churches Trust.
A £20,000 repair grant will help fund a project to fix damp in the sandstone walls of Saline and Blairingone Parish Church and to replace rotten timbers and linings.
Trust vice president, broadcaster Huw Edwards, said the UK’s historic churches and chapels were a vital part of the country’s heritage, “but to survive, many need to carry out urgent repairs and install modern facilities.”
“The cost of this work is far beyond what most congregations can pay for themselves,” he said, adding the work would secure the church’s future as an important community building.
The church was built in 1810 and designed by William Stark, an eminent architect described as a “genius” by Sir Walter Scott.
Stark, who designed the interior of Edinburgh’s Signet Library, suffered from poor health and died aged 43, so few of his buildings have survived.
The church is to a simple rectangular plan with galleries on three sides.
There is an unusual feature – two short towers flank the main entrance in the west gable, one with the bell and the other intended for a clock which was never installed.
Chronic dampness in the church’s walls is the result of a “misguided” application of cement render many years ago.
Interior linings have also become damaged and timbers have rotted. An undetected roof leak led to serious rot in a roof truss.
The slates, believed to have been second hand when major work was last done on the roof after the Second World War, are badly in need of renewal.
The project will replace the render with a coating that will allow the walls to breathe.
It will also remove a redundant chimney that has let water seep through, repair the failed truss, and generally refurbish the roof.
When the restoration work is complete, there are plans to create a museum display and to produce a booklet and leaflet telling the story of the church’s heritage.
Session Clerk Ann Easton said: “Our building is the only place of worship in an extensive rural parish, a valued amenity for the community, and a significant feature of the local heritage.
“The award is a substantial help and encouragement towards realising our vision for sustaining the building and our mission into the future.”
A total of 77 churches and chapels in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are benefitting from the latest grants.
Demand for funding continues to grow, with 583 grant applications received in 2018, up from 473 grant applications in 2017, a 23% increase.