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Historian in Residence

This document provides tender information and a brief for the appointment of a consultant or consultant team (hereafter “the consultant”) to undertake the role of Historian in Residence for St Mary’s as part of the delivery phase of a major repair and upgrade project that was given a delivery phase grant by the National Lottery Fund (hereafter the “Heritage Fund”) in December 2023.


The Project: St Mary Stebbing: The Way Forward

The Church of St Mary the Virgin, Stebbing, has recently been awarded a delivery phase grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for our ‘Way Forward’ project. This is a £1.8 million project that will see major repairs and upgrades to the historic church building to remove it from the Heritage At Risk register, alongside an exciting three year heritage activity programme.

Our capital programme will see urgent repairs to the building, levelling of the flooring to improve accessibility, removal of the pews to allow for greater use and flexibility, installation of a new heating system to enable the church to be better used in the winter months and more comfortable for people, and to address the damp issues affecting the structure of the building which will enable the church to be removed from the Heritage At Risk register.

We are planning for most of the capital work to take place in time for the building to be reopened in 2025 for a full celebration programme. Our activity programme centres around the celebration of the restoration as well other aspects of our heritage.

Scope of work

The Way Forward Project is offering a paid two-year residency for an historian (including archaeologists, heritage librarians, museologists, archivists, teachers, and heritage architects) to explore the history of St Mary’s Stebbing and to engage our volunteers and community with the heritage of the site.

The history of the site needs further research, but information is available from a number of sources. St Mary’s and the PCC will support access to these works where possible. 2

The Historian in Residence will undertake research into the history of St Mary’s; this could include existing collections held by the church, a related historic event or topic or respond to an identified gap in the existing body of historical work. The current priority research areas for the project are:

  • Connections with the Knights Hospitaller
  • Origins of the current St Mary’s Church building
  • Architecturally important features of the building
  • Areas conserved within the project’s capital works

The following outcomes will be required:

  • Production of a written report in a format agreed with the Way Forward Project Steering Committee
  • Supply of support research material and bibliographies
  • Support the creation of assets for interpretation of the church’s history, including but not limited to; feature point interpretation, digital learning resources, self-led activities, village heritage walks. There is a separate budget available to support the design and manufacture of these resources.
  • Participation in the project’s activities:
  • Community participation - Support the development and delivery of community events and other learning/sharing opportunities - this may take the form of a workshop, activity, gathering of community histories/feedback, sharing of learning through a talk etc
  • Supporting and guiding the work of volunteer interpretation researchers, including sharing knowledge of different history skills, such as how to conduct research, how to find source documents, how to use archives and maps
  • Supporting the collection of information that will inform project evaluation
  • Partnership working with the Heritage Engagement Officer, Volunteer and Training Officer and others as required
  • Supply of images and material for The Way Forward project’s social media and education programmes

The Way Forward steering committee are particularly interested in activities that promote conservation, community engagement and/or have a positive impact on the local area. The successful historian will provide opportunities for the community to both input into and access the final report; submissions for desktop-only studies will not be successful.

The final decision for the topic, timeframe, and schedule of payment will be negotiated between the project Steering Committee and the successful applicant.

The Historian in Residence will retain copyright of the material generated during the residency and will acknowledge Stebbing PCC as the original commissioner of the material. The Church of England and St Mary’s Stebbing will retain the right to publish material generated from the program in any format without further permission or remuneration.

Project programme and management


The Delivery Phase grant was awarded in December 2023. The first stage of the project is to get the capital programme underway and completed by the end of Qtr1 2025. The activity programme will run over a period of three years.

Delivery Phase key dates

Second round pass awarded: December 2023

Permission to start completed: February 2024

Recruitment and appointment of staff/consultants: March to May 2024

Activity Programme begins: April 2024

Activity Programme ends: June 2027

Project management

Stebbing PCC will be the client. The consultant will report to the Project Team and will be managed by the Project Team Lead, Rhoda Herbert. The Project Team reports to the PCC.

The consultant will be expected to provide regular update reports for the Project Team. The frequency of which will be agreed on appointment and in line with project progress. We expect that the consultant will also attend Project Team meetings and PCC meetings as appropriate.


Although the successful applicant is not required to work on site, there is an expectation that the successful applicant will be available to support on-site activity at specific events to be agreed with the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee is keen that this opportunity is available to as wide a range of people as possible but acknowledges that public transport links to the site are poor; if you do not have access to your own vehicle and are concerned about access, please contact for an informal discussion about how the Steering Committee may be able to support you in your application.


Deadline for tender submissions: Monday 1st July 2024

Shortlisting submissions: Monday 8th July 2024

Interview dates: 15th – 19th July 2024

Successful consultant notified: 22nd July July 2024

Contract begins: Monday 2nd September 2024

Contract ends: 31st October 2026

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