St. Jerome’s Church in Llangwm in Pembrokeshire has received initial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund to undertake the medieval church’s renovation.
The funding will also help pay for the creation of an exhibition that tells the story of the migration of people who fled the collapse of sea defences in Flanders and came to Pembrokeshire to settle at the start of the 12th century.
Development funding of £17,700 has been awarded to help the church and the Heritage Llangwm team develop their plans to enable them to apply for a full grant to carry out the work, at a later date.
St. Jerome’s Church was built by Flemish craftsmen around 1200, but modernisation work in 1830 and 1879 meant the church lost much of its original medieval character.
Pamela Hunt, Chair of the Heritage Llangwm Team, said: “This is a marvellous opportunity.”
“We have a church in desperate need of renovation, so while we are achieving that, why not create an exhibition that pays tribute to the very people who built it in the first place?
"We know so little about them at the moment, but that doesn’t stop us finding out. If you imagine the Fleming story as a 500 piece jigsaw that’s lost all but 50 of its original pieces.
"When this project is complete, we hope to have found another 300, enough to enable us to create a clearer picture of the lifestyle and culture of the people who made this part of Wales their home."
Jennifer Stewart, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in Wales, said: "The future plans for this building means that it can be enjoyed more widely throughout the community.
"I am delighted that we have been able to award a grant to help develop the plans for this exciting project, further.”
The entire project is expected to be completed by April 2016.