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Heritage Lottery rejects Milford Trust funding bid

The County Armagh village of Milford has been dealt another blow by the Heritage Lottery Fund, Armagh I can reveal.

Last December the HLF turned down an application for funding to restore the grave of penalty kick inventor William McCrum.

And now an application by the Milford Buildings Preservation Trust to acquire and conserve artefacts from the Manor House collection – and provide public access to them at 22 Monaghan Street, Milford – has also been rejected.

The Manor House was the home of the McCrum family, the famous linen family who are closely linked with the village.

The decision to reject the Milford House Museum Collections Development application was taken by the Heritage Lottery Board’s Northern Ireland Committee.

Milford Buildings Preservation Trust was established as a registered charity and its aims are “to promote, protect and preserve” Manor House and its “gardens and parkland for the benefit of the nation, and the buildings or structures of particular beauty or of historical, environmental, architectural or constructional merit or interest in the Milford area of Co Armagh and to restore, renovate and conserve the gardens and planned landscape and other open spaces and land associated with or related to such buildings and structures”.

The application was the latest relating to the village and its historical connections with the McCrum family turned down.

Last December HLF rejected an application to fund the restoration of the grave of William McCrum, at St Mark’s Parish Church in Armagh, which had fallen into a serious state of disrepair.

The Milford Northern Ireland Supporters’ Club, backed by the Amalgamation of Northern Ireland Supporters’ Clubs, later saw dejection turn to elation when FIFA agreed to pay to have the grave restored.

That decision was made at an IFAB meeting held in Belfast in February and came just days after the launch of a campaign to raise the estimated £7,000 required after the Heritage Lottery rejection.

The restoration will be followed by a service of dedication in August.

The village of Milford was founded by Robert Garmany McCrum and has a long and proud history associated with the linen industry.

But it was Robert McCrum’s son, William, who put the Co Armagh village on the world map, as he is the man who is credited with having invented the penalty kick rule.

William McCrum studied at the Royal School Armagh and at Trinity College in Dublin and he also ran the family linen business in Milford.

But the William McCrum Grave Restoration Project – as it was submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund for consideration – was turned down in December, the decision having been taken at a recent meeting of the HLF Board.

It had been proposed to “raise awareness of the legacy of the linen entrepreneur William McCrum, of Milford, who is credited with the establishment of the penalty kick in football, through the restoration of his grave and compiling details of the history of the village and linen story for sharing through a leaflet, website and talks”.

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