News and Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE - 7 February 2017

Key Heritage Role Filled at St Helen's

St Helen's Parochial Church Council (PCC), Escrck has appointed Michala Pearson to the key role of Heritage Engagement Officer for the "Walking through the centuries with a Legless Knight" project.  The project has been supported by National Lottery players through a development phase grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

Michala has over fifteen years of professional museum and educational experience, including as Museum Education Officer at Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council where she had successful experience working on the lottry funded project.  Their Past Your Future and Education Consultant at Scampston Hall for their recent HLF project.  She is currently also Regional Coordinator for the Charity "Paintings in Hospitals".

Michala was recently awarded an MA in Cultural Heritage Management, with Distinction, at the University of York, for which she was also awarded the York Civic Trust award for best dissertation.

Her main responsibilities as the Heritage Engagement Officer in the project's Development Phase will focus on work with the project team to develop a Heritage Activity Plan.  This will form a vital part of the PCC's application to HLF later in 2017 for a Delivery Phase grant.  Michala will pilot activities designed to increase engagement with the heritage of the building and the wider community. She will work with the project team, volunteers and others, such as schools, to develop a heritage engagement strategy and lay the groundwork for the implementation of a sustainable heritage programme pending achievement of HLF Delivery Phase funding.

The appointment is for five months and could be extended should St Helen's PCC be successful in securing an HLF Delivery Phase grant.

Caroline Wandless, Churchwarden and Project Team Leader commented on the appointment: "Heritage interpretation is a key element in our project to revitalise and safeguard St Helen's for the future.  We received some excellent Expressions of Interest for this role and we are delighted to be able to appoint Michala.  She is very experienced in the field, comes highly recommended and, most importantly, has infectious passion and enthusiasm for heritage and for our project."

Commenting on her appointment, Michala Pearson said: "St Helen's story, interwovn with Escrick Estate and village, and illustrated by fine memorials and artefacts, is fascinating.  I am looking forward to the challenge of using my experience to work with the project team to develop a Heritage Activity Plan which will help to secure further HLF funding and will strengthen St Helen's already strong links with the wider community."


A Legless Knight in Escrick to be supported by National Lottery players

St Helen’s Parish Church, Escrick has received initial support* from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for their ‘Walking through the centuries with a Legless Knight’ project, it was announced today. The project aims to carry out essential conservation work, and create a heritage hub bringing to life the 800 year story of estate, church and community.

Thanks to National Lottery players, development funding of £55,400 has been awarded to help St Helen’s progress their plans to apply for a full grant at a later date.

Community involvement will be invited and encouraged with opportunities for people to get involved sharing and investigating stories, devising village trails and learning and developing new skills.  The hub will also be a valuable resource for individuals, local schools and interest groups.

The building is a focal point for the local community.   It was built 160 years ago and cost £26,000 funded entirely by the Thompson family who were the Estate owners, and were the forbears of the Forbes Adam family who own the estate today.  St Helen’s houses a unique array of high quality monuments commemorating ten generations of the present landowning family, many commissioned from renowned European artists.

However, the oldest monument is the legless stone effigy of a thirteenth century knight thought to represent Roger de Lascelles, who was one time ‘Lord of the Manor’. Despite having lost his legs centuries ago, the effigy is acknowledged to be carved to a very high standard and the detail tells us much about the garments worn at the time and the precise date when it was carved.   

Commenting on the award, Caroline Wandless, Churchwarden and Project Team Leader said: “We’re absolutely delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this support. It means that the building and the unique history of the community will be preserved and available for future generations.  The support will ensure the building can be enjoyed by many more people and used for a wider range of activities.’

Fiona Spiers, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund Yorkshire and the Humber, said: “This project offers a fantastic opportunity to bring this wonderful church to life, through investigation and interpretation of its fascinating history alongside essential conservation work. We are delighted to have taken the first steps with the Legless Knight, and look forward to seeing the detailed proposals in due course”.

Notes to Editors

About St Helen's

St Helen’s Parish Church of Escrick was built in 1857 and is a Grade II * Gothic Revival building. The Architect was Francis Penrose, Surveyor of St Paul’s Cathedral and later President of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA).  It sits majestically at the side of the A19 half way

between York and Selby.  The Church is in the Derwent Deanery within the Diocese of York. The Church is available for all Parish residents for weddings, baptisms and funerals and provides a venue for concerts by local choirs who appreciate the natural acoustic of the building, art exhibitions and school visits.  St Helen’s generates opportunities for people to feel part of something special, with more than 60 people involved in various volunteering activities from cutting the Churchyard grass, cleaning, helping with fund raising events, flower arranging, editing and distributing the parish magazine to name but a few.  St Helen’s provides an enduring presence in the community, open to all, and offers a haven of tranquillity and stability in a busy world.

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

(Grants programme)* applications are assessed in two rounds.  A first-round pass is given when HLF has endorsed outline proposals and earmarked funding. A first-round pass may also include an immediate award to fund the development of the project. Detailed proposals are then considered by HLF at second-round and as long as plans have progressed satisfactorily and according to the original proposal, an award for the project is confirmed.

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. @heritagelottery @HLFYandH

News from St Helen's
Webpage icon Remembrance Sunday
Webpage icon Little Cherubs Toddler Group
Webpage icon Sharing Our Faith
Webpage icon Minster Passes