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Cash injection for Gothic-style church

St Augustine's church in Ramsgate Photo: ITV Meridian

An iconic, Gothic-style church in Kent could be in line for hundreds of thousands of pounds of Lottery cash after being identified as an architectural and religious gem.

St Augustine's in Ramsgate was built in 1844 by the renowned architect Augustus Pugin, who also designed the "Big Ben" clock tower and the Houses of Parliament.

A few years ago the church was in disrepair and almost closed but local people rallied to restore it. With several thousand visitors already, the Church now wants to build a dedicated centre - and is hoping lottery funding could be the answer.

It's been given an £80,000 grant that will now pave the way for a fully-fledged proposal, costing almost a million pounds.

St Augustine's church, Ramsgate Credit: ITV Meridian

The rector, Father Marcus Holden, said: "Pugin is the father of the Gothic revival and this is his archetypal church if you like. He wanted this church to be a model for the whole country.

"And it's also the place where he's buried. It's his home, it's his "ideal church" he called it. It's also a commemoration of the landing of St Augustine who came in 597. Pugin was fascinated by the figure of St Augustine and wanted this church to honour him."

Augustine brought Christianity to England and was the first Archbishop of Canterbury.

One of the stained glass windows depicts Augustine blessing Pugin for building the church. A labour of love for Pugin who was finickity about every detail.

St Augustine's Church, Ramsgate Credit: ITV Meridian

Paul Sharrockm, the project architect, said: "When one reads his letters going backwards and forwards to his builder, the glass - which is such an important part of this building - was being experimented on. So they would choose colour, the glass would come in, he'd say "no, not that red, a different red". And so all of this is here."

ITV News presenter, Alistair Stewart, is patron of the project. He said: "Ramsgate is a beautiful community but we also have heritage here which is not only Christian, it's about a community as well and the architecture of Pugin, the Gothic revival which has a fabulous canon of literature as well as architecture, people can come here and study about it so I think for Ramsgate it's going to be a real boost."

Newsreader Alistair Stewart is patron of the project Credit: ITV Meridian

But it's hoped the centre won't just be for the religious.

Catriona Blaker, of the Pugin Society said: "There was no area in which Pugin did not design and work and his life and opinions touch upon so many other areas of 19th century history that I think there is something for everybody there and I don't think you would necessarily need to be a churchgoer to appreciate Pugin."

St Augustine's Church in Ramsgate Credit: ITV Meridian

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