THE COTTAGE where poet William Blake wrote the hymn Jerusalem is among the historic sites at risk of being lost forever.

A total of three sites in Sussex have been added to the Heritage at Risk Register.

Published by Heritage England, the list is used by national and local government to identify structures which are in need of protection in a bid to secure their future.

Across England, there are 233 sites which have been saved and taken off the register, while 130 deteriorating venues have been added to the list.

In total, there are 4,985 sites on the register – 112 fewer than 2020.

Decay and problems with its thatched roof and masonry has led to William Blake’s old Grade II listed cottage being added to the register.

The cottage in Felpham, Bognor, was home to Blake and his wife Catherine from 1800 to 1803.

In recent years, the cottage, in which Blake wrote the words to the hymn Jerusalem, was purchased by The Black Cottage Trust, who placed it into a trust in 2015.

The Argus: Poet William Blake’s cottage in Felpham, Bognor Poet William Blake’s cottage in Felpham, Bognor

It has launched a fundraising appeal for the site’s restoration.

The trust applied to Historic England to put it on the register.

Trust secretary Jonathan Mullard said they aim to renovate the cottage with “sympathy and imagination” by 2027, in time for the 200th anniversary of Blake’s death.

“Fundraising and renovation can be challenging but as Blake himself wrote, ‘eternity is in love with the productions of time’,” he said.

In East Sussex, two sites have been added to the list - Christchurch Church in St Leonards and Church of St Thomas and the English Martyrs in Hastings.

Christchurch Church, a Victoria Grade II listed building, was consecrated in 1884.

The building has suffered from severe erosion due to vulnerable stonework and its proximity to the coast.

Repairs to the tower and spire are being carried out this year with funding from the Heritage Stimulus Fund, but further restoration and repair work is needed to secure its future.

Church of St Thomas and the English Martyrs was built in 1889 by architect Charles Alban Buckler.

By 1945, some of the church’s murals had deteriorated because of water penetration and the wall paintings were restored in the 1950s.

The interior is currently deteriorating due to water penetration caused by inappropriate building work, poor drainage of rainwater and the roof requiring repairs.

Across the whole of the South East, 20 sites have been saved and 15 sites have been added.

Historic England regional director for the South East Emily Gee said the variety places being added and removed from the register in the region shows it still needs support.

“The register highlights special places in need of love, and gives us an opportunity to celebrate those which we have saved together,” she said.

From 2020 to 2021, Historic England awarded £1.23 million in grant funding to 23 sites across the South East on the register.

Among the at risk sites across England, there are 1,459 buildings or structures, 2,001 non-structural archaeological locations, 923 places of worship, 104 parks and gardens, 491 conservation areas, four protected wreck sites and three battlefields.

One of the notable sites to be removed from the register is Battersea Power Station, which was built from 1929 and had been on the at-risk register for 30 years.

Simon Murphy, chief executive officer at the Battersea Power Station Development Company, said he was delighted that “years of careful and complex restoration” had resulted in the site’s removal from the register.