A former Catholic chapel in County Durham is to receive emergency works to safeguard it from further deterioration, after it was the target of an arson attack last year.

In July 2023, the Ushaw Historic House, Chapels & Gardens near Durham site was targeted by the attack, which resulted in fire damage to the east wing of its Grade II listed Junior House and to the roof of the adjacent Grade II* St Aloysius Chapel.

Since the arson attack, there has been further decay to the Junior House and St Aloysius Chapel, caused in part by recent heavy storms.

A £400,000 grant from Historic England is hoped to fund emergency repair works to the roof structure and high-level masonry, as well as the erection of a temporary roof to prevent further damage to the special features and fine decoration inside the chapel.

Maria Carballeira from Historic England said the emergency repair works were the “first step” towards rescuing the historic buildings, “which played such an important role in the revival of Roman Catholicism in Northern England.”

Lucy Jenkins, Co-CEO & Director of Culture and Heritage at Ushaw, added:”The fire was a devastating blow to Ushaw and we are thrilled that we can now begin the process of conservation that will enable our visitors to see it restored in the future.”

“We are hugely grateful to Historic England for helping us to progress with the emergency repair work to St Aloysius Chapel.”

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