Romney church launches appeal for heating system

On Sunday 16 September an appeal is being launched to raise funds for restoration work and a heating system for the parish church of St Rumwold, Bonnington.

The appeal launch, which will take place during a special Evensong service at 4pm, will be attended by the co-patrons for the appeal, Lord Aldington and Mr Paul O’Grady, along with the Mayor and Mayoress of Ashford and Ros McCarthy, Deputy Lieutenant.

Around £57,000 is needed to repair the ironwork in the windows, to restore the flooring and to install a heating system in St Rumwold’s, a grade one church, which dates back to Saxon times. Due to the remote location, the church has no mains water or electricity and a gas heating system is being designed which overcomes these issues and which is sensitive to the church’s grade one status.

The Choir from St Leonard’s Church in Hythe will lead the music at the service on September 16 and the preacher will be the Bishop of Dover, The Right Reverend Trevor Willmott.


For further information contact:

The Reverend Canon Roger Martin, telephone (01303) 237204, e-mail:

Photo opportunity

15.50hrs Sunday 16th of September at St Rumwold’s Bonnington – or immediately following the service at approximately 1700hrs.

Background information below:

The Parish Church of St Rumwold, Bonnington -Statement of Needs

St Rumwold’s Church, a Grade 1 listed building, is an unspoilt architectural gem set on a rise two hundred yards north of the Royal Military Canal; an area of outstanding natural beauty. The church is reputed to be the oldest church for miles around with its origins dating back to Saxon times.

The village of Bonnington is close to the much larger village of Aldington and St Rumwold’s congregation is made up of people from both of these villages and neighbouring Bilsington. The Church parish extends onto Romney Marsh. The congregation is relatively small (25 to 30) and growing.

In addition to the fortnightly services, and major church festivals, St Rumwold’s is supported by some very well attended events such as the Carols by Candlelight annual service, the Raft Race, the annual St Rumwold Lectures (speakers have included Baroness Julia Neuberger and Tony Benn), concerts and its first successful Flower and Music Festival in the autumn of 2011.

The church is much loved by the local community. The door is always open for visitors from all over the world who come as tourists, as pilgrims, as those needing a few quiet moments of prayer.. The churchyard is open for burials.

Church Fabric

The Building is generally in good condition but our Inspecting Architect has highlighted in her

Quinquennial report the need to carry out urgent restorative work to the ferramenta and has alsorecommended that the parquet flooring be repaired or replaced and a heating system be installed. The church has no running water or electricity and recent estimates to install electricity have been prohibitively expensive.

What Needs To Be Done?

Ferramenta (Iron Work For Windows)

The ferramenta throughout need to be de rusted and redecorated. In some instances stone repairs will be needed where the rusting ferramenta continues to damage the stone surround and there is some water penetration.


A feasibility study has been carried out under the Green Communities Expert Support Programme and the Energy Saving Trust. A thorough assessment was undertaken but no scheme was identified that would be both affordable, would not require mains electricity, would be likely to obtain approval (official and popular) for a Grade 1 building in its particular location and not subject to theft and vandalism.

A company very experienced in church heating was consulted by our architect. Only one form of heating was considered suitable to overcome all the issues listed above. Based on the church’s heating requirement this would consist of four balanced-flue gas heaters fuelled by propane gas bottles with suitable fixed steel pipe-work.


The floor of the church consists of an old tiled floor evident as in the central aisle and from north and south doors to the central aisle. The areas under the pews and choir stalls and immediately inside the west door extending into the vestry areas on each side have a poor quality teak parquet flooring mounted on a plinth presumed to be formed of concrete screed. The parquet flooring is deteriorating rapidly and becoming a safety hazard. The simplest option would be replace the parquet with and alternative wooden surface. Some investigation is needed however before deciding on the appropriate course of action.


The walls are finished with standard non-breathable masonry paint. Some minor plaster repairs are needed. Other areas are dis-coloured and in need of redecoration. Any redecoration would be undertaken after the other works have been completed.

Financial Implications

1. Quotation for Ferramenta ` £15,000
2. Quotation for Heating £12,000
3. Flooring (estimate) £15,000
4. Routine Maintenance (estimate) £2,500
5. Redecoration (estimate) £10,000
6. Contingencies  £3,000