A north Norfolk church twice targeted by lead thieves has received a £95,000 National Lottery grant.

North Norfolk News: Baconsthorpe Church has recieved a 95,000 lottery grant. Picture: Ian BurtBaconsthorpe Church has recieved a 95,000 lottery grant. Picture: Ian Burt (Image: Archant 2018)

Thieves stole up to six tons of lead from St Mary's Church in Baconsthorpe, near Holt, in March 2017 and when they returned in April they caused £40,000 worth of damage.

But the community has rallied round, and £22,000 was raised at an auction at the church last week towards its refurbishment. Repairs to the church will cost more than £100,000.

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant will enable the preservation and promotion of the history of Baconsthorpe.

It means the church interior can be preserved for future generations and that links between Baconsthorpe castle and church can be strengthened with the creation of Heydon's Walk in conjunction with English Heritage and the Norfolk Coast Partnership. The Heydon family built the castle.

North Norfolk News: The roof at Baconsthorpe church after the lead theft. Picture: Pat CubittThe roof at Baconsthorpe church after the lead theft. Picture: Pat Cubitt (Image: Archant)

The work at the church will start in September and should be completed by January 2019. During the repairs there will be two days for students to discover traditional building skills.

Meanwhile, the community element to the project will include a new website to be created in partnership with Baconsthorpe village hall. This will be used to promote events and record village history.

An updated guide book for the church will also be produced, and an animal trail created for children with a geocache, a modern day treasure hunt, within the church. There will also be nights when people can observe the bats living in the church.

St Mary's Church is a Grade II* listed building that dates back to 1260. It has one of only three Easter Sepulchres in Norfolk and a 14th century wall painting of a cockerel called Chanticleer.

Richard Youngs, treasurer of Baconsthorpe Parochial Church Council (PCC), said 'We are thrilled to have received this support thanks to National Lottery players and are confident that the project will ensure that the church will be preserved for years to come and that the history of our village will be better explained, with new opportunities for everyone to explore our local heritage.'