Repair work will help Great Chart parish church serve the community for another 700 years

Essential repair work has been completed on the roof of Great Chart parish church to ensure the fourteenth century church will serve its community for another 700 years.

The £230,000 project, which took four months to complete, involved conservation-led repairs to the east end and the North Aisle. High level roof repairs carried out by contractor H Goodsell & Son Ltd, of Maidstone and over-seen by Architects, Thomas Ford & Partners, included replacing copper which was stolen by thieves from the North Aisle approximately four years ago. Essential emergency repairs were also carried out to the historic rood screen turret to protect the friable stone structure from further dilapidation.

Mr Matthew Newton, the architect from Thomas Ford & Co commented: “The delivery of this project has been very successful. Essential structural timber roof repairs were skillfully designed by Adrian Cox Associates and the new roof coverings have been successfully executed on site by Goodsell’s under the observation and supervision of contracts manager Derek Edwards.” Mr. Newton also described how bats living in the roof were protected during the works, in a project led by Roger Jones of Mountfield Ecology.

English Heritage Inspecting Architect for the South East, Mr David John, who has made regular visits to site to review progress, commented: “We are very happy with the conservation repair approach and the church has now been made wind and watertight and its place as a resource for the whole community secured.”

Over the last two years the church and local community have raised £230,000 for the church roof. A substantial grant awarded by English Heritage and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund was supplemented with grants from other local and national charities and funds raised through community events such as concerts, boot fairs, auctions of promises, and the annual Strawberry Tea and Christmas Party at Godinton House.

The Reverend Tim Wilson, Vicar of St Mary’s, described the importance of the church’s work in the community including its development work in Singleton and the proposed Garden Village at Chilmington Green. He said: “The quality of the work undertaken means that this beautiful building can continue to act as a focal point for the local community for another 700 years.”

Over the weekend of October 20 and 21st, the church will be holding special celebration events to mark the end of the repairs. Events include hosting the annual John Briggs Memorial Lecture for Friends of Kent Churches on Saturday 20th, which will be given by the church’s Architect, John Bailey, who will talk about the challenges of a major church renovation project. There will also be a service on Sunday 21st at which the Bishop of Dover, the Right Reverend Trevor Willmott will preach.

Further information about the church and forthcoming events can be found at:

www.stmarysgreatchart.org

 Ends

Photo shows: From left to right, Matthew Newton, Church architect, Chris Grove, churchwarden, Rev.d Tim Wilson, David John, English Heritage supervising architect, Derek Edwards, Contracts Manager for H Goodsell & Son, Lin Briscall, churchwarden, Pauline Pullen, St Mary’s project and funding co-ordinator.

Further information from:

Emily Shepherd, Director of Communications, Diocese of Canterbury: 01227 459401, 07876 210 446

Or

Revd Tim Wilson, Vicar of St Mary the Virgin, Great Chart: 01233 620371

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