Roof, Restoration, Refurb – Rejoice!
Despite the anxieties and frustrations of these difficult times, there are certainly blessings to be found!
We have been both delighted and relieved to learn that we have been granted £11,000 by Historic England’s Covid-19 Emergency Heritage at Risk Fund towards re-instating a permanent roof on the north chapel (following the theft of its lead last December). Unfortunately, we had to submit our application before becoming aware of the increase in the original estimate, due to the specific requirements of the Diocese and other organisations who oversee the protection of ancient buildings. Like Oliver Twist we were not permitted to ask for more! Consequently, there is still a shortfall of £12,000 to find and a further application has been submitted to the National Churches Trust about which we will be notified in November.
It is a ‘catch 22’ situation as we cannot apply for a loan in order to commence the work as we would be unable to finance repayments without grant aid and rules state that work must not commence until a grant has been awarded! However, all the necessary permissions to replace the roof with terne coated steel have been granted and, as soon as we have the finances, the work can commence.
Another blessing has been notification that the Diocesan Advisory Committee (DAC) have approved our chosen site for the provision of a toilet and mini-kitchen facilities. We have the ‘green light’ for our church architect to draw up preliminary plans for a north extension, opening up the old north doorway for internal access. It will also involve demolishing the dilapidated boiler house and levelling the ground on that side of the church as well as connecting to mains water. First though, we have to apply for funding to cover the planning phase! This is on hold until we have secured funding for the roof, but is an exciting development looking forward.
As previously reported, thanks to the gift from the now defunct Halswell Park trust, the monuments to Elizabeth Tynte and Isabella (the sleeping child) in the north chapel were restored in August and the floor repaired. Isabella has been re-sited away from the wall and can now be viewed in the round. This has revealed her sculptor as Christopher Moore (1838) and not Raphael Monti as previously thought. It has also revealed exquisite detail which was hitherto unseen. Whilst access to the church is restricted during these difficult times, there is an ideal opportunity to view these restorations on Saturday 21st November when the church is open for private prayer from 11 am – 4 pm.
Brenda on behalf of Goathurst PCC