All Saints’ Church in Mackworth has started on the next phase of rebuilding, after the Chancellor of the Diocese of Derby gave permission for the work to go ahead.
The centuries-old church, just outside Derby, was severely damaged by fire following an arson attack in December 2020 and has not been able to be used since.
The Parochial Church Council (PCC) was granted permission to rebuild the church by the Worshipful and Reverend Timothy Clarke, Chancellor of the Diocese of Derby, in September and a contractor has been procured to start the work which is expected to take around 30 months to complete and includes rebuilding the walls and roof.
Consultation has also started on the next phase of the rebuild, and Mackworth Parish residents will be consulted over the coming months about what the interior restoration should include.
After receiving permission for the work to go ahead, Don McLure, the Project Lead and PCC Treasurer, said: “It is great news for the congregation, local residents and the PCC that we can move forward with restoring the church.
It is a long and complicated process, but the PCC is aiming to make the exterior of the church look as near as possible to how it was before the fire.
The church had existed on the site at Lower Road for more than 700 years.
“We are extremely grateful to Ecclesiastical Insurance, who will fund both the building and interior work, and to the local community and supporters of the church for raising more than £40,000 towards any non-insurance works that may be carried out.”
The fire completely destroyed the interior, including the pipe organ and marble pulpit, and caused the entire roof to fall in and structural damage to the walls of the nave and chancel.
It is estimated that the entire rebuilding project could cost up to £13m.
The congregation of All Saints has continued enjoying Christian worship thanks to the hospitality of its sister church, St Michael's, Kirk Langley.
More about Mackworth All Saints
The church dates back the 14th Century, though it is known that the site has been a place of worship for around 1,000 years. The building was earlier restored and reopened by the Bishop of Lichfield in 1851.
The pulpit, installed in 1896, was made of Derbyshire alabaster and green Irish marble. The pipe organ was built by Lloyd and Dudgeon of Nottingham and dated back to 1870. Both were destroyed in the fire.
Since the fire, the building has undergone a large amount of work to clear the site and stabilise the remaining walls to make it safe and prevent further collapse.
Silverware and paperwork stored in a safe survived the fire, as did a 4ft silver cross and a statue of the Madonna and Child.
The chancellor of the diocese, as the independent judge of the consistory court, oversees legal issues across the diocese, especially those which relate to the use of and alterations to church buildings and land.