Forest of Dean church bought from the Queen for £1

A church in the Forest of Dean has been bought from the Queen for just £1.

St James's Church, on the banks of the River Wye, in Gloucestershire, was built in the 12th Century but has pre-Norman origins.

It has been disused for almost 150 years since the hamlet of Lancaut - which had 10 houses in 1306 - was abandoned by its inhabitants in 1865.

The Forest of Dean Buildings Preservation Trust now plans to spend up to £50,000 to restore the church.

Jim Chapman, the chairman of the trust, said: "The church authorities sold it to Gloucestershire Heritage Trust, but for some reason that disbanded, so ownership was lost and it all reverted back to the Crown.

"We had to go through an old feudal system of how the Queen gave away her land to the noblemen at the time and we had to petition the Queen to create a new title to this church."

'Romantic ruin'

Mr Chapman said it was not quite as easy as just handing over a pound, and the group had to pay the legal charges, which came to about £2,500.

But he said it was worth it to protect "a lovely romantic ruin" in a "forgotten part of Gloucestershire".

"You can only get there by foot, along one of the Wye Valley walks," he said.

"There is also tremendous historical interest, it is a Celtic church in Gloucestershire."

The trust bought the building from The Crown Estate on the condition that it restored it.

"It's basically just stabilising the walls, if you think of all these monuments, Glastonbury Abbey for example, they are all just ruins, but the walls have a capping on them to so they don't deteriorate any further," Mr Chapman said.

"So you will always have this lovely ruined church sitting there on the side of the Wye."

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