John Betjeman Award

John Betjeman Award

Established in 1990 and named in honour of writer, conservation campaigner and SPAB Committee member (1952-1977) Sir John Betjeman, this award celebrates excellence in the repair of places of worship of all denominations in England and Wales, including the Isle of Man. Shortlisted and winning entries are featured here and in the SPAB Magazine.

The award is given for repairs to a specific element of a building, rather than for a general programme of works, and projects must have been completed within the previous 18 months. Work of any scale is eligible, but must be to the fabric of the building (e.g. tower, wall, roof, floor) or to a significant element of its furnishing (e.g. monument, screen, tomb, pew, pulpit). Cathedrals are not eligible.

Importantly, the award is always made to the building rather than to an individual, so this is a chance for a whole community to celebrate the quality of work completed in its building. The award takes the form of a certificate featuring an image of Inglesham Church in Wiltshire, a favourite church of Betjeman’s and the subject of an early SPAB campaign by the Society’s founder, William Morris. This striking image was created for the SPAB by artist and friend of Betjeman, John Piper.

The judges shortlisted seven projects for the 2018 Award.

  • All Saints, New Windsor, Berks: Conservation of newly rediscovered reredos designed by Thomas Hardy
  • Leigh Old Chancel, Leigh, Cricklade, Wilts: Repair of timber communion rail damaged by vandals
  • St John the Baptist, Myndtown, Shrops: High level repairs to the roof, timber bellcote and bells
  • St Kenelm, Sapperton, Gloucs: Repair of plain glazing
  • St Leonard, Shoreditch, London: Stabilisation and repair to stonework in the portico
  • St Mary, Iffley, Oxford: Lime-based conservation of the west front and south door stonework
  • The Guild Chapel of the Holy Cross, Stratford on Avon, Warwicks: Wall painting conservation

Following visits to all seven buildings, the judges declared the Guild Chapel in Stratford this year's winner and commended the work at Leigh Old Chancel.