The Church Restoration.....

 

We are extremely grateful that Heritage Lottery Fund generously awarded us a grant of £210,100 towards repairing the roofs on our Grade 1 Listed church. This continues the support from HLF who had already provided a Development Grant of £13,400 to investigate the extent of the repairs required.

 

This investigation unfortunately identified that the roof was in a much poorer condition than previously thought, made worse by the two separate roof thefts and now in desperate need of repair. The Heritage Lottery Fund grant, made possible by National Lottery players, helped save our Church and preserve it for the future. As a small village of around 85 houses we feared the monies to be raised would be impossible. 

 

The HLF were impressed by the way the small community have enthusiastically rallied in support. We had to raise more money than originally estimated  as the costs increased due to discovery that the stonework holding 3 of the stained glass windows were also in dire need of repair. An extra £15,000 was needed to carry out this work.

 

The extensive work on the roof repair is now complete,  re-plastering, decorating and replacement of the plastic drainpipes also finished and the church re-opened in October 2019 after a 9 months closure.

 

Following the initial damaged caused by the first of the 2 lead thefts a significant investigation was needed to assess the extent of the damage and whether or not it was practical to undertake full repairs, even if we could raise the funds. The significant grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund was critical in allowing the investigation work to start, along with community commitment. 

 

The Nave Roof.....

 

The lead to the nave roof was stolen in May 2016. The roof had a

temporary felt covering fitted to prevent more damage. When the roof

was opened up the oak boards appeared to be in reasonable condition.

The plan was to cover the entire roof with a permanent Terne Coated

Steel replacement. 

 

The chancel construction was found to have considerable problems.

The ridge was heavily decayed, a screw driver could easily be inserted

deep within the heart of the rotted timber.  The roof was therefore in

a much worse condition than we previously thought and needed the

whole of the roof to be dismantled, the sound timbers retained and

others repaired or replaced where necessary. This required a full

external and internal scaffold to be erected and a temporary roof 

installed as protection whilst a new roof was being constructed. 

 

We tendered for the work, reviewed those submitted and awarded the

contract to Weldon Stone, Corby, and to the Architect, Eleanor McEvedy,

Leicestershire. Sufficient funds were in place to enable the work to start

in January 7th 2019 whilst we continued fundraising.

 

 

The scaffolding was erected both internally (crash deck and inspection scaffold) and externally (working scaffold). Boarding was placed and scaffold alarm installed. Church Memorials and precious Gravestones (inside scaffold area)

were boarded up. The Organ was also covered for protection from debris and dust covered.

 

The whole of the Chancel roof was then dismantled allowing the extensive work to commence. This was challenging through the winter months, although thankfully the winter was relatively kind. Work continued for several months: . 

 

  • The whole of the central ridge was replaced with one of seasoned oak to match.

 

  • Two layers of boards were fitted to provide a ventilated roof have been fitted.

 

  • The Chancel now has a Terne Coated Steel Roof, with new chutes.

 

  • The gable was repointed, and some stone was replaced.

 

  • The individual defective stones to the parapets and coping were marked for replacement.

 

  • The ironstone came from a quarry at Great Tew, Oxfordshire as all local quarries are exhausted.

    

  • The Chancel gable was repointed 

 

  • New coping stones were hand cut to replace where necessary

 

 

 

BBC In Hard Hats….

 

Peter Dunn, from Weldon Stone kindly offered the opportunity

for anyone from the Community to join a “Hard Hat Tour’ to

view the works from the scaffolding. This was arranged for March

6th 2019. Martin Heath, BBC Radio Northampton, jumped at the

chance to join us and do an outside broadcast.

 

The day was attended by some of the congregation and the

Community. Martin was very impressed by the huge efforts of the

village to raise the funding and marveled at the skill of the

workforce.

 

 

Internal Stonework around stained glass windows.... 

 

The Structural Engineer identified that the internal stonework

to three of the Stained Glass windows was in dire need of repair,

work that really couldn’t wait any longer. Unfortunately this was 

extra to the project and an extra cost of £15,000. Fortunately we

had anticipated some overspend and the Heritage Lottery Fund

had also built in a contingency that they allowed us to use. 

 

The internal stonework in the arch to the east window had dropped on both the north and south side. The voussoiring

to the north side had also cracked and required replacing. The windows all had to be supported whilst the stonework

was repaired. The precious windows to the southside of the chancel were also suffering from problems to the stonework.

 

The internal archway stones had dropped and the gaps had previously been filled with cement mortar, this also had to be

replaced with suitable material.

 

The Nave Roof......

 

Work started on the nave roof in July 2019. The roof had been stripped

at the start of the project and was protected with temporary plastic

sheeting held down with battens. The temporary covering to the nave

roof was removed and although some timber repairs would have to be

undertaken, this was not as daunting as those needed to the chancel.

 

The damage was mostly decayed rafter ends. Some were not actually

maintaining the connection between the wall plate and the existing

rafter. Clearly these had to be repaired by the method of ‘doubling up’,

allowing the restored joints to take the weight of the new roof. Once

the timbers had been secured the next stage was to fit a felt covering,

followed by two layers of boards to provide a ventilated roof. This was

then covered by terne coated steel. 

 

July 2019, the last Steel sheet goes on the Nave roof.....

 

Now works start internally to renew the plaster to the Nave ceiling.

The weather and work to replace the roof had made the ceiling worse

and there were some areas of poor past repair where there was water

ingress.

 

The plaster previously used didn’t have the flexibility that you would

normally expect from a hair and lime plaster, apparently it 'lacked

sufficient hair'

 

Work was commissioned to replace any lime ceiling plaster whilst

the scaffolding was in place, as this would be the most cost effective

solution. We also recognised the danger that if the old plaster became

detached from the laths and had fallen it could cause damage or harm

to anyone below.

 

Drainage.....

 

The initial investigation works concluded that the existing drainage 

system was either defunct or heavily blocked with mud and silt.

What could be cleared was unblocked by means of extensive high

pressure jetting.The pipework to the north side of the property required

replacement and areas to the south side requires relining.

 

We managed to raise sufficient funds, around £16,000, to repair and replace the downpipes and gutters. Much of the existing cast iron rainwater goods were in a poor state of repair and the plastic elements, particularly to the north elevation are inadequate in size and number and require complete replacement. 

 

 

Finishing Touches, November 2019.....

 

It all took much longer than we hoped due to extra necessary work that needed to be carried out. A familiar story! Thankfully the church re-opened again in November 2019 and is a building we can all be proud of.

 

As well as all the work to the roof, the damage to the structure and internal ceilings, the broken drainage wall has been rebuilt,the drainpipes replaced with some new additions to improve the system. Its good to see the back of the old plastic pipes. 

 

The Archdeacon presided over a well attended Thanksgiving Service for the church restoration on February 23rd 2020.  

 

Project Costs.....

 

The total project cost was almost £345,000. All the work to save our village historic church has been made possible by generous grants and community fundraising. We are indebted to the following for their unbelievable support: 

 

  • National Churches
  • The Constance Travis Foundation
  • Francis Coales Foundation
  • John Warren Foundation
  • Garfield Weston Foundation
  • Northamptonshire Historic Churches Trust
  • Sir Derek Greenaway Foundation

 
HLF who awarded us a grants of £223,500 to complete investigative works then to repair the Chancel & Nave roof.

 

Thanks also to a substational private donator. And, of course, lots and lots of Local Fundraising including two annual Classics on the Green community events and Rock The Gap 2019, thanks to all the organisers!!!