AN appeal to raise money for the tower of a historic Winchester church has raised nearly £50,000.

St Bartholomew's needs to money to undertake important work at the medieval church which was part of Hyde Abbey, where King Alfred was buried more than 900 years ago.

Work will make the building more accessible and welcoming.

The appeal was recently boosted by a grant of £3,000 from Allchurches Trust, one of the UK's largest grant-making charities, with its funds coming from ownership of the Ecclesiastical Group.

The parish newsletter states that the appeal has raised £45,900. An appeal quiz night was held on Friday via Zoom.

Phase one of the project is due to start next month with a new kitchenette, wheelchair-accessible toilets, work to prevent damp and a reordering of some pews.

Phase two will include widening the north-west doorway and path to improve level access;

Reordering the area in the north aisle to create a heritage corner and welcome display;

Reordering the pews at the front to give more space for performance; and new furniture.

It had been hoped to to start work after Easter but coronavirus hit fundraising. The church hopes to do.

The appeal web site is