Two Banburyshire historic buildings are on new ‘at risk’ register

Inside the filling factory NNL-140826-103206001
Inside the filling factory NNL-140826-103206001

A village church and a hidden First World War landmark in Banburyshire are among a long list of historic sites deemed ‘at risk’ in a new, national register.

Cropredy Church and the site of the National Filling Factory No 9 - a factory that filled shells with lethal mustard gas - are declared by Historic England as being in danger.

Inside the filling factory NNL-140826-103206001

Inside the filling factory NNL-140826-103206001

The filling factory was located alongside the M40. Built in 1916 as a factory for filling shells with high explosive for use in the First World War, it was converted to produce poison gas for use in the trenches.

“The remains of the factory, a very rare survivor of its type, are a scheduled monument but the site is now overgrown and the structures in danger of collapse,” said Historic England spokesman Celia Knight.

“Around 1,500 people, a third of them women, were employed in its dangerous work. Exposure to chemicals coloured their skin and they came to be known locally as ‘canaries’.”

The grade I Church of St Mary the Virgin, Cropredy is one of two Oxfordshire churches judged to be at risk because of slow decay.

A Raising The Roof appeal is trying to raise money towards the £425,000 cost of essential roof repairs and updating. To qualify for grants the scheme will also involve improvement of facilities within the church.