A £70,170 grant from HS2’s Community & Environment Fund (CEF) has helped to restore the Shenstone Tower, located in Shenstone village in Staffordshire, which had fallen into disrepair.
The restoration includes the installation of a staircase to the top of the tower, and a new viewing platform on the roof of the tower offering panoramic views of the village and surrounding countryside.
The tower and adjacent church were originally built in the 12th century using bricks carved from local red sandstone. The renovations to the tower have restored parts of the tower walls back to how they would have originally looked when they were first erected 900 years ago.
Jeremy Cotton, Chairman of the Shenstone Tower trustees, said:
“The old church tower was neglected, with crumbling masonry and trees growing out of the walls. We knew it was within four to five years of a catastrophic masonry fall.
“Thanks to the HS2 funding, we’ve been able to restore the tower and make it accessible to the public. The renovation includes a new platform on the roof so people can climb to the top and get a great view of the local area, and 13 historical information boards which tell the history of the local community since Saxon times.”
Helen Wass, Head of Historical Environment at HS2 Ltd, said:
“HS2’s wider historic environment programme is the largest in the UK and seeks to advance our understanding of the past, creating knowledge, engaging communities and leaving a lasting legacy.
"By funding the restoration of the Shenstone Tower, we are contributing to the valuable work of the Friends of Shenstone Towers and helping the local community to celebrate their heritage.”
Cathy Elliot, Independent Chair of the HS2 Funds, said:
“The restoration of Shenstone Tower is a fantastic initiative driven by a group of dedicated volunteers from the local community, and as a CEF team we have visited the Tower to see first-hand the fantastic restoration that has taken place.
“The Tower has sat at the heart of the village for the last 900 years, and thanks to a variety of fundraising efforts and funders, including the award from HS2’s Community & Environment Fund, it can continue to serve the local community for decades to come.”
HS2’s Community and Environment Fund (CEF) was created to add benefit to communities along the route that are demonstrably disrupted by the construction of HS2 from London to West Midlands.
HS2’s funding schemes will provide up to £40m of funding throughout the construction timeline of HS2, supporting community-led projects that improve the environment, such as tree planting and energy efficiency measures.
The Funds also support initiatives that bring direct benefits to local communities, such as the provision of new community facilities or supporting local heritage and culture projects.