Restoring a national treasure
St Edward’s Presbytery was part of Pugin’s vision for an ideal Catholic community.
The Landmark Trust is a charity that carefully and sensitively restores historic buildings across the country, making them available for holidaymakers to rent out and experience.
When St Edward’s Presbytery in Ramsgate came on the market, the Landmark Trust was very keen to purchase and restore this historic building. Situated next to The Grange, Pugin’s family home, the Presbytery was an integral part of the architect’s vision for a thriving Catholic community, but it had fallen into disrepair.
The Landmark Trust already owned The Grange, and thankfully due to a timely legacy they were also able to purchase the Presbytery in 2010. Yet a series of poor renovations and additions as well as general disrepair meant there was still a lot of work to do.
Benefiting a church community and the tourism industry
The Landmark Trust approached Allchurches Trust for a grant to carry out essential repairs to the Presbytery. On a site visit we were very impressed with the benefits that the restorations would bring to the area.
Not only would a restored Presbytery take pride of place next to the thriving church of St Augustine’s, it would provide much-needed employment and apprenticeships in a deprived area. Once the work was completed, it would also bring visitors to the area who would use local amenities.
“A visit really helped to demonstrate the shared space of the church and the Presbytery,” explains Paul Playford, Grants Officer for Allchurches Trust. “By visiting the site you get a true sense of how important it really is.”
We made a grant of £8,000 towards the restoration work, which involved removing the ill-considered additions to the main building, replacing rotten floors, opening up fireplaces and rebuilding their surrounds.
Builders and apprentices also rebuilt the staircase and reinstated the leaded-light windows, reusing original materials wherever possible.
The restoration of the Presbytery means that the whole site is now much as Pugin first intended, and the Presbytery has been open for booking from November 2015. “It’s brought a historic building back into use,” explains Paul, “And it will give a real boost to the local economy."