A "LIFELINE" has been handed to a historic Kidderminster manor house which remains closed to the public after the coronavirus lockdown put a halt to essential repair works.

Harvington Hall closed for repairs at the end of 2019, however conservation works were put on hold due to the pandemic and safety issues with the building fabric mean it is still unable to reopen.

Earlier this year, a building survey revealed repairs were needed to the vaulted ceiling in the withdrawing room and the management team announced it would be launching a fundraising campaign to secure the hall's future.

Now, the 14th century hall near Chaddesley Corbett, which contains the largest surviving series of priest hides in England, has received a £48,000 boost from the Heritage Lottery Emergency Fund.

The money will go towards the hall's running costs while the building is closed, and allow management to look at ways for the hall to reopen, including a risk review among other surveys.

Phil Downing, interim hall manager, said: “We are deeply grateful to the National Lottery Heritage Fund for this grant.

"This is a lifeline for the hall and it means that we can take the next steps towards the works needed to make sure this unique building can open again for visitors.”

Originally built in the 1300s and developed in the late 1500s, Harvington Hall brings to life the history of the survival of Roman Catholic families and clergymen during the Reformation of the late 16th century.

The listed building also houses a rare collection of original Elizabethan wall paintings.

The hall's well-preserved condition makes it a rare building of significance and it was voted the best Hidden Gem in the UK Heritage Awards 2019.