Bedfordshire's smallest parish church, St Mary's in Eaton Bray, was in danger of falling down.
The church was said to be one of the finest examples of medieval architecture in the country.
But the vicar, the Rev Peter Graham, was having to appeal to every household in the parish to give five shillings a month to save the church.
The chancel had been closed for worship, and there was death watch beetle in the roof, pulpit, screen, nave roof, belfry and organ.
Source: Dunstable Gazette, 19 July 1957