All Saints Church: Its Future and a Proposal for a General Appeal for Funds
A paper by Richard Burnett-Hall, Church Warden presented to the Parochial Church Council (PCC) December 2012, including an update following that meeting.
At All Saints there are several pending matters each of which, if they are to be attended to, require substantial sums of money: repair of the North aisle roof, restoration of the Maurice Bernard Memorial, and (as a minimum) making the present set of bells safe, and desirably either making them usable at least for chiming (there are several options for doing this) or installing a new set of lighter bells that could be rung full circle. If the church is to be used significantly more than at present, which is a separate issue I also comment on, there would be an undoubted need for toilets, hot water and, ideally, some basic catering facilities. I set out details of these and other desirable developments in an Appendix at the end of this document.
While the more ambitious options can be deferred or abandoned, the repair of the North aisle roof cannot, and both the memorial and the bells must be made properly safe sooner or later. We have received two quotes for fully retiling the North aisle roof, the cheaper being for £16,800 plus VAT. (VAT is in theory reclaimable, and the Winchester DAC says that so far all claims have been met 100%, but if, when it mattered, the Government fund set up to meet claims had become exhausted, then we wouldn’t get the money back.)
The three matters of immediate interest would cost of the order of £35,000 minimum in aggregate; £50,000 to £60,000 would achieve much more. Current funds in hand are nowhere near sufficient just to repair the North aisle roof, let alone deal with the other matters, and so an appeal will have to be made to raise even the minimum sum needed. I fear though that to appeal for the roof work alone is likely to be met with a somewhat reluctant response, however necessary retiling may be, since there will at the end be virtually nothing to see or enjoy for all the expenditure. Moreover if we appeal for the roof alone, subsequent appeals for other projects are bound to be less well supported than they otherwise would be, where people have given quite a bit to the church not long before.
It is therefore my view that we should consider a more substantial project involving all the significant matters needing attention that I list here, and very probably others, and make an appeal for sufficient funds to allow really noticeable improvements to be made to the church; ones that should suffice for at least a generation, and ideally far longer. I would be particularly keen to have bells being regularly rung at the church. It is tucked away out of sight – and out of mind? – at the far end of a cul-de-sac, and currently there is little to remind many locals of its existence. A joyful noise in the village every now and then from the top of Church Lane would be a gladsome thing.
However, even if a major appeal covering several projects is agreed to be the best approach to raising money, we do have to take a fundamental strategic decision on the long-term future of this church, and whether it is right to spend large sums of money to maintain it, particularly if it is clear that spending such large sums on other worthwhile projects, at home or abroad, would have far greater benefits for far more people. The average attendance at All Saints for the normal Sunday services is tiny, and if anything reducing. If that is how things are going to be for the foreseeable future, at best, then there is a strong case for spending no further money on the church structure at all, beyond the barest minimum needed to prevent things falling off and killing people. We should merely manage its decline until it becomes a redundant church. It does of course provide a valuable service to the wider community from time to time, and they do come to it very occasionally, but unless a sufficient proportion of them are also prepared to give it adequate financial support, should they not collectively accept the consequences?
That is not an outcome I wish for, still less advocate. Nevertheless, we should, as the PCC, be responsible custodians of any money we are able to attract, and not be happy using it for ourselves if it could be made much better use of elsewhere. Hence I take the view that an appeal for any substantial amount of money has to go hand in hand with developments aimed at securing a considerably greater use of the church for the benefit of the local community than is the case at present. Currently the church is only really well used on major Feast Days and a few other special occasions, and when there are weddings or funerals. We can’t do much to boost the numbers of the major Feast Days, special occasions and funerals, but the projects mentioned in this note would certainly make it more attractive for weddings. Even so, that alone is hardly a sufficient reason for spending many tens of thousands of pounds.
It follows that we should see any future major expenditure as part of the renovation of the church’s role in the local community; not merely renovation of its building. That is of course consistent both with the interim outcome of the Benefice Vision day held earlier this year, discussion of which is continuing, and also with the mission that the new Bishop of Winchester, Bishop Tim, sees as central to everything that we, as church members, should be doing. I take the view therefore that, before deciding to spend money on improvements, we should discuss what can and should be done to procure an appreciably greater use of the building, where possible on a regular basis, than at present. Any greater use should clearly be consistent with its being a consecrated place, but need not be limited to church services, though new forms of service appealing to younger generations might well be an excellent place to start. Nor need it be limited exclusively to Anglicans, or indeed to people of faith. (That might quite possibly come to them later.)
It is not my purpose to set out here what might best be done to secure greater use of the church, but merely to emphasise that in my opinion we have to be clear in our own minds what we are aiming for. If we do not hold any clear ideas as to what greater use, or uses, the church could and should be put to and, perhaps even more importantly, how we might make that happen, then we should bite the bullet, and accept that it will continue to decline, and eventually close. (A decision not to bite the bullet, but in fact to do little or nothing else, would amount to much the same thing.) When I put this choice to a recent meeting of the Friends of All Saints, all (including me) were agreed that we should seek a positive development in the life of the church, and not accept its decline and closure. If this is also the view of the PCC, as I would hope and suspect it is, then it is incumbent on us to spell out in some detail what such development might look like, and how it might be achieved. Having done that, we can and should proceed with an appeal to fund improvements that would be consistent with and, desirably, assist that development.
A purely practical aspect, that reinforces this approach, is that grant giving bodies seem appreciably more likely to respond to requests for funds if there is a good “story” behind what their funds would be applied to. A church that has fallen on hard times may receive some sympathy, but one that is trying to pull itself up by its bootstraps, and to improve its situation and the services it provides to its community, will almost certainly get a lot more.
Richard Burnett-Hall – Church Warden November 2012
Update, following the PCC meeting
It is perhaps important to mention that All Saints church is a Grade II* listed building, and that we can do virtually nothing that would affect the fabric of the building, or would alter or remove its contents, e.g. bells and pews, without the approval (called a “faculty”) of at least the Winchester DAC (the Diocesan Advisory Committee), and in some cases also of English Heritage. The DAC at least is undoubtedly on our side, and will try to go along with anything reasonable that we may want, but we cannot treat their approval as a foregone conclusion – still less that of English Heritage. Since the paper was written, we had a helpful visit in January by a team of people from the DAC that included an architect, to consider the various proposals so far put forward and in particular the installation of toilets and catering facilities. Their advice was that we should be able to create what is needed in that respect in the North West and South West corners of the existing building, and so do not need to build an extension outside it, which would certainly be much more expensive.
I have also been in touch with Phil Watts, the Diocesan bells advisor, on whether he would approve a request from us for a faculty to take down and sell the existing three bells to help fund, and to make room for, the installation of a peal of six lighter ones, as discussed in the paper. He was aiming to send in his opinion on this to the DAC around now, but his views are not currently known.
At a PCC meeting on 28 February 2013 a resolution was agreed setting up a committee of the PCC with broadly the following remit:
1. to review and to define more precisely the various things (“projects”) that can and/or should be done both to restore the fabric of the church and its contents, and also to make the building more adaptable for such other purposes (appropriate, of course) as may be thought worthwhile – these included the projects discussed in the November paper, and any others the committee or the PCC might wish to add;
2. to cost these projects, so far as practicable, and to report back to the PCC with a plan (a “Renewal Scheme”) made up of such projects as seem to the Committee to be appropriate and realistic, and aimed at achieving the object of the exercise;
3. subject to the PCC’s approval of the Scheme, to proceed with an appeal for funds and applications for grants, and to put the various projects into practice when funds permit; and
4. that funds raised in an appeal should be payable to and held by the Friends of All Saints, and disbursed by them as and when appropriate to meet the costs of the projects. (Appeal funds would not therefore be capable of being diverted to general church running costs.)
It was also agreed that the proposed committee (though necessarily answerable to the PCC, as the PCC is legally responsible for everything affecting the church building), should if possible include a variety of people other than regular churchgoers, so they could also contribute their suggestions as to how the church might be best used for the benefit of the entire village community in ways additional to the standard church services. It is this wish to involve the whole community that led to the very constructive public meeting organised, by the PCC and to which all villagers were invited, held on Saturday 23 March 2013.
Richard Burnett-Hall – Church Warden March 2013
1. The roof – North aisle mostly, but also elsewhere
The Quinquennial Survey Report of 31 May 2011, undertaken on 17 March 2011 by S. J. Cox of Stephen Cox Associates, says, in its section 3.2, “Roofs”:
“3.2.5 The north aisle has an individual pitched roof of similar construction to the others but is in much poorer condition. The southern slope of this roof, as mentioned in the last report, is showing signs of significant lamination and there are missing tiles and many broken ones. Upon a brief inspection, as this itself may cause further damage, numerous ferrous fixings were noted. It is assumed currently that water is entering the roof structure but is being saved from entering the building by the felt which is under the batten and counter-battens.
“3.2.6 The northern slope of this roof has fared better but is still showing signs of weakness and heavy moss growth as well as some laminating tiles. A review under the tiles again shows ferrous fixings which will rust and cause the tile to snap. It is strongly recommended that consideration is given to the replacement of both these roof slopes complete. This has to be considered as urgent as water ingress can cause further problems internally. Once this work is undertaken it is also recommended that a review of the southern slope of the nave is also undertaken, as ferrous fixings were noted here, and there is a number of laminating tiles.”
In the Report’s Summary, there are just two matters listed under “5.1 Urgent”, the first of which is “Consider replacing roof to the north aisle”. (The other is “Remove ivy growth to [the north aisle] wall.) The first two (of nine) points in the next section “5.2 Work Required During the Next 18 Months” are (i) “Replace missing tiles to southern slope of chancel”, and (ii) “Undertake review of southern slope of nave”. The next 18 months have now elapsed. There have been no repairs to the roof so far, as it appears to be still water-tight currently, and there are no adequate funds in hand to do anything anyway.
Quotes for retiling the north aisle roof were however obtained in February 2012 by Richard James from West End Construction, of Hamble, and CBS Construction of Sherfield English. (The builder who has looked after the church for a good many years has now retired, and was not willing to quote for this work.) The West End quote came to £16,800, excl. VAT, while the CBS quote for full retiling of the same area came to £19,474, excl. VAT, plus £1,624, excl. VAT, if the scaffolding had to be fully enclosed.
West End’s quote assumed the use of “Tudor handmade clay peg tiles”, but if “Keymer” (a place in Sussex) tiles were (or had to be) used instead that would raise their quoted figure (by how much is not stated), as the latter are some 25% more expensive. Which kind would be required by the DAC for a faculty to be granted, I do not know.
CBS also quoted a significantly lower figure of £12,988, excl. VAT, on the assumption that only 30% of the current tiles would need to be replaced. Replacing 100% of them would cost an extra £6,486, making the total of £19,474 set out above. It is both RJ’s and my view that, at least for costing purposes, we should assume a total replacement of all tiles. In any event, it seems unwise to spend £12,988 if at the end of it we still have a lot of old tiles that have laminated to some degree and could need replacing relatively soon thereafter.
2. The Bernard Memorial
This memorial is fixed to the north wall of the north aisle, at its eastern end where Maurice Bernard used to have his pew. Costings for restoring the memorial have been obtained at the instigation of Anthea Busk. Maurice Bernard (who, with his widow and others, is buried in the crypt below the north aisle) was the owner of the North Houghton estate. He died childless, and the estate was later sold off; the land (which of course includes Houghton Lodge) now owned by the Busk family came into their hands much later. The faculty approving the creation of the crypt and the erection of the memorial, that was granted to Maurice’s widow, Bridget Bernard, in 1791, includes an undertaking on behalf of her and all subsequent owners of the estate to maintain the crypt and the entrance area outside the church. That undertaking does not extend to the memorial, however, though the Busks clearly respect the connection between it and them.
The memorial is currently very dilapidated, and arguably a bit of an eyesore. However it could, I believe, be made far more attractive and a feature of real interest, if it were cleaned so the subtle colouring in the decorative inlay work could be seen, and of course if the inscription were legible. I have written a short article for the Parish Magazine on Maurice Bernard and the memorial, to try to engender further interest. It reflects the relatively unusual artistic style of its date, 1791, and we are told that its use of high quality bronze lettering projecting from the marble background appears to be unique, in Britain at least.
I have obtained costings from a conservator in Fovant, Peter Martindale, for the necessary work to bring the memorial back to near its original condition. The total is £8,215 excl. VAT. Of this, by far the largest component is the cost of creating replica bronze letters to replace those that have come off and been lost, namely £3,570. (In 2000, a quote of £1,090 was given for the same item of the work.) An Andy Phillips, who works at Houghton Lodge, is a metal worker and Anthea Busk invited us to ask him to provide an alternative quote for this aspect. However he has not as yet given us any firm figures despite being chivvied, and preliminary discussions suggest that he may not be significantly cheaper, if cheaper at all.
One other aspect of the restoration work is replacing the iron fixing that holds the white marble part of the memorial to the wall with one of stainless steel, as the current fixing is rusting due to damp in the wall. Peter Martindale’s estimate for this item is £1,630, plus a further £415 for scaffolding needed to support the memorial while the fixing is changed. It is not known how much strength it still has, but clearly there is a risk of the memorial falling off and being destroyed if no action is taken. The longer action to replace the fixing is delayed, the greater that risk becomes. The £1,630 is only an estimate, as it is possible that the black marble background slab may also be found to need similar work once the white marble part has been taken off. That should not however be a massive extra expense if done at the same time.
I have been looking into the possibility of obtaining grants to support the restoration, and one body that seemed particularly appropriate was the Morris Bequest (set up with money from William Morris’ daughter). An application to them has been successful and they have just promised to send us a cheque for £1,000 – the most they ever pay out on any one application. I am now following this up with further applications to similar grant giving bodies.
3. The Bells
The state of the bells seems to have been a perennial issue since at least 1992, when one or more quotes were obtained from the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. Quotes for a variety of options were obtained in 2006, both from the Whitechapel Bell Foundry and also from Matthew Higby & Co. Ltd. However nothing further was in fact done. A chance conversation I had with bell ringers at Broughton recently resulted in Matthew Higby making contact with me, via Bob Gosse, and he (MH) subsequently inspected the bells at All Saints and has just re-quoted for a variety of options.
As matters stand, the bells cannot be safely used except for cautious swing chiming. This entails swinging a bell just enough to get the clapper to hit the side, whereas in full circle ringing the bell is ‘set’ inverted and then swung through a full circle (365º) so that the clapper strikes the rim of the bell when its ‘mouth’ is facing outwards and the sound directed away from the tower. (I am advised by Bob Gosse, who knows about these things.) When installed (thought to be around 1742 for the two larger bells, and 1882 for the smallest), the bells were set up for full circle ringing, but all recent surveys make it clear that the belfry structure is now in such a condition that doing this would be highly dangerous. The three bells weigh 4 cwt, 6 cwt and 7 cwt, approximately (20 cwt being 1 ton, for those at school later than me), and with all three swinging at once the strains and stresses would be just too much, in the absence of very expensive major engineering work to reinforce the belfry structure. The timber work supporting the bells is not in great condition, but is adequate for most of the options outlined below, and could be reinforced if appropriate. However there is a fair bit of ironwork in the bell supports and clappers, and some of this is rusting. If the bells are to be saved from cracking and brought back into worthwhile use at all, this will have to be attended to.
As a peal of bells, what is now in place is very unsatisfactory. Matthew Higby’s 2006 report says:
“Musically they do not fall into a recognisable musical scale, being approx. 1, 3 and 4 of a diatonic peal of 4. Tuning the bells would make improvements to the sound of each individual bell, as well as their musical relationship to each other.”
Even so, with only three bells the number of changes is limited to six (1 x 2 x 3 = 6), which is a big turn-off for serious bell ringers. An enhancement of the bells would be to add at least one further bell, which would allow for 24 changes (1 x 2 x 3 x 4 = 24), but even so a chime of 4 is unlikely to be sufficiently attractive to justify the significant extra cost.
From reading Matthew Higby’s most recent report and those from 2006, the realistic options open to us are as follows, in order of ambition – doing nothing at all is not a responsible option. I comment on these below and come to a much shorter list.
1. The bells must be prevented from being swung full circle. Their total weight is not far short of a ton, and if they and part of the belfry were to collapse the results would be devastating. Simply removing the bell ropes would presumably suffice in the short to medium term, but that would of course mean putting the bells totally out of action. In which case they might as well be taken down and sold (the DAC permitting), with the proceeds being applied elsewhere.
2. The minimum improvement would be to arrange for stationary chiming of the bells. (In this the bells remain stationary and do not swing at all, but are struck by a separately operated hammer.) They would make much the same noise as now, though this, to a bell ringer, is unattractive and, there being only three bells, relatively uninteresting.
3. An alternative to (2) is to re-hang the bells for swing chiming only. This would produce a slightly louder sound than stationary chiming, but “requires a little more skill to achieve a uniform sound”. It is also a bit more expensive than (1), and the result would still be unattractive and uninteresting to bellringers.
4. A highly desirable, and not unduly expensive, step alongside (2) or (3) would be to remove and replace the existing, and rusting, ironwork within the bells. Otherwise rusting will continue and eventually lead to their becoming cracked.
5. Still better, the bells would be re-tuned at the same time as the work in (4) is done.
6. A significant, but expensive, improvement on (5) would be to add an intermediate bell, so there is a tuneful chime of four. These could be arranged for either swing chiming or stationary chiming.
7. In principle we could go for four – ideally more – tuned bells as (6), and at major expense strengthen the belfry structure so that they could be swung full circle. Money permitting, yet another two bells would get a seriously worthwhile peal of six. (This is what was done at Hannington – see below.) Though grants are available specifically for resuscitating old bells, it seems that they are also likely to be available for the next option (8), so that aspect is not material to the choice between them, which ultimately comes down to how much can be afforded.
8. Alternatively, and significantly more cheaply than (7), we could install a new peal of six lighter bells (the heaviest being 2 cwt.) in their own bellframe. These would be designed for swinging full circle and, having many hundreds of potential changes (720 actually), I am told that bell ringers would be keen to come and ring them. Being lighter than many, they would be ideal for training up younger bell ringers. The existing three bells could be kept, maybe retuned, and maybe arranged for chiming, if desired, though there seems little merit in going to that expense, as the new bells could also be swing chimed. If the DAC permitted it, the old bells could be sold off to help pay for the new peal of six.
In a letter of 13th November 2012, updating some of his 2006 figures, Matthew Higby comments on several of these options, and I have exchanged a few further e-mails with him since. On stationary chiming he says that this “would make the bells safe for the long term and would give a user-friendly “fool proof” method of chiming [so even a church warden could do it – RBH]. The sound produced would be clear, but not as loud or as resonant as the sound produced by swinging bells.” He also says that neither stationary nor swing chiming is likely to be of much interest to bell ringers, and further that rehanging the bells for either method is unlikely to attract grant aid.
On retuning the bells (option 4), he says that this would enhance their tone and musicality, but adds “permission to tune the larger two bells may be difficult to obtain as they are listed for preservation by the Church Buildings Society.” That would be unfortunate, though it is the smallest and most recent (1882) bell that is in most need of tuning. On adding a 4th bell (option 5), his view is that this “would effectively fill in the missing note but the musical range would be very restricted as there are not many tunes which use just those four notes”.
Rehanging the existing bells for full circle change ringing “would obviously attract bellringers together with grant aid from the bellringing associations and grant making bodies” but, as already mentioned, Matthew Higby advises that this should be accompanied by installing significant structural steelwork to strengthen the bellframe. And even then, whether with three bells or four, however well tuned, such a peal is still not a big deal for bellringers, when compared with peals of six or more.
My conclusion from these observations is that trying to do anything at all ambitious with the existing bells would not be cost-effective. The older two are decent bells, but on their own there is little that can be done with them; full circle ringing is possible only with major structural work on the belfry, and we would still have a very inadequate number for a peal. Adding just one more to make four would hardly be worth the cost. In theory we could add three more to make an interesting peal, but at over twice the cost of the option below. The remaining, smallest, bell has little to commend it and does not justify much being spent on it. Nevertheless the bells need to be made fully safe and, if we do nothing else, arranged for chiming, almost certainly stationary chiming. Preferably we would also try to improve the tuning of at least the smallest bell at the same time.
The only other option that makes bellringing sense is to install a new set of six lighter bells. These, Matthew Higby says,
“would be a more cost-effective option [than rehanging the existing bells for full circle ringing, including structural reinforcement] and would not require significant tower strengthening. The new bells would be harmonically tuned and would sound very musical indeed. A scheme such as this would obviously attract bellringers together with grant aid from the bellringing associations and grant making bodies. A smaller ring [i.e. a ring of rather smaller bells – RBH] would also be ideal for training young ringers in the art of change ringing, and may therefore attract funding from Heritage Lottery or regeneration bodies such as the Landfill Communities Fund.”
The relevant updated (November 2012) costs for these recommended options are:
(1) Rehanging the existing three bells for stationary chiming. This would include taking the bells down, and to the Matthew Higby works, near Bath, where they would be worked on and have as much as feasible of the potentially rusting ironwork extracted. They would be re-installed with a mechanism providing for stationary chiming. (A more detailed specification of this work was provided in 2006.) Today’s cost to that specification would be £8,282 plus VAT.
Should it be thought of interest, rehanging the bells for swing chiming, but otherwise doing the same work, would cost £9,644 plus VAT, i.e. an additional £1,362 before VAT.
A new fourth bell from the Whitechapel Foundry would cost £8,460 plus VAT, though a (presumably cheaper) second hand bell might be obtainable via the Keltek Trust – www.keltektrust.org.uk – it would of course have to blend tonally with the other three to be worth having, so being able to get such a second hand bell could not be guaranteed.
(2) Installing a new peal of six lighter bells, complete with its own bellframe. The cost for this (again to a specification provided in 2006) would today be £30,462 plus VAT. The smallest of these bells would have a diameter of 14. inches, and weigh 91 lbs (so by no means a hand bell!), while the largest would be 21. inches in diameter and weigh 2 cwt. You can hear them at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zQk7TGwGR7E . That clip is of people ringing the “back six” of a peal of eight bells, which means the six largest, and omitting the two smallest. The Higby quote is for the same six larger bells.
If we were to go for this option, the future of the existing bells would become an issue. As indicated just above, they could, at a cost, be rehung for stationary chiming, but why would we do that, given that the new bells could always be swing chimed anyway? The smallest bell at least might be sold and, in response to a question from me, Matthew Higby says that its value, if traded in against new bells, would be around £2,400. He has also offered a package deal of £34,950 plus VAT, plus the smallest bell, for supplying the new peal of six, and restoring and rehanging the older two bells for stationary chiming.
Apparently we may even so have problems with the Diocese if we wish to dispose of any of our existing bells, having put in a new set of six. This may need some sensitive negotiations, since if we were to go for the new bells, the most economic and sensible thing to do with the old ones would be to take them out of use, which would mean that in practice they would never be heard or seen again here. If we had to keep them in the church, unrung and unseen, sooner or later they would have to be taken down anyway for safety reasons. Consequently, that might as well be done at this stage. If sold through the Keltek Trust they would doubtless in due course be re-installed in some other church where they would be used and their qualities properly appreciated.
Final point: if anyone, e.g. a major donor, wanted to have their names on the new bells this can be done at a charge of £15 per letter. I’m not sure this is a big deal for bells that would be hung where they will rarely if ever be seen, but that’s the offer.
Which of these options we might go for of course depends on the money we think could be raised.
My personal preference is to aim to install a peal of six new bells, and to try to finance this in part by selling off at least the smallest of the existing bells, and desirably all three (as always, the DAC permitting). People are invited to visit the bell founder in Wells; he has a set installed there and ringers can try them out if they so wish (see the You Tube link above).
It is nevertheless worth noting that at All Saints, Hannington, the other side of Basingstoke, with a very similar population – 332 in 2001 – and a very similar church, they went for the alternative of refurbishing their (probably a bit better than ours, so I am told) three existing bells and adding a further three to make a peal of six bells in a strengthened belfry, an option that would be open to us too if we so wished. Matthew Higby did the work, completing it in July 2010 at a cost of £67,949. See http://hanningtonvillage.weebly.com/church-bells.html and listen to them on http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15SIDfi-jfs
It is encouraging to note the number of bodies that are listed on the Hannington website as supporting the funding of their new peal of six bells, namely: Allchurches Trust Limited, The Barron Bell Trust, The Cottam Will Trust (part of The Friends of Friendless Churches), Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council, The Bernard Sunley Charitable Foundation, The Friends of All Saints’ Hannington, The Foundation for Sport and the Arts, The Hampshire and the Islands Historic Churches Trust, Hampshire County Council, The Headley Trust, The Keltek Trust, The Sharpe Trust, The Vine & Craven Hunt Supporters’ Club, The Winchester & Portsmouth Guild of Church Bell Ringers, and The Worshipful Company of Haberdashers.
4. Other Expenditure
Before seeking funds for the specific projects discussed above, we should consider what else could or should be included as further items also to be funded by the appeal. I suggest several matters below, but this is far from being an exhaustive list, and there are doubtless other possibilities that PCC members may wish to propose.
4.1 Professional fees
One head of expense that is almost certainly unavoidable, if only to meet DAC requirements, is the cost of retaining an architect/surveyor to supervise such works as are undertaken – to the roof and the belfry at least. Richard James is contacting Stephen Cox, who did the most recent Quinquennial survey on this.
4.2 Toilets, hot water, and catering facilities.
Having toilet facilities would self-evidently be a big improvement, making the building much more suitable for use by children and generally by larger numbers of people for longer times. We already have a boiler for the central heating, and this could doubtless be used for hot water also. I presume that toilets and a small kitchen area could not sensibly be accommodated within the church building, and so would require an extension to be built. From a quick walk around the church I would have thought that something suitable could be located at the north-west corner without trespassing on old graves. The niche in the north aisle that takes the Mother and Child statue is a bricked up doorway – a door can be seen on the outside – so this could perhaps be opened up again. Such work would cost a lot, clearly, and could only be justified on the basis of generating much greater use of the church, but it is definitely worth considering.
4.3 Audio-visual equipment
I do not pretend to know what might be desirable by way of AV equipment, still less how much it might cost. However it seems clear from the Benefice Vision responses and elsewhere that this is something that would almost certainly be valuable in getting people to come to the church for alternative uses of the building. It could also be of use in our own church services, presumably, but I must defer to others on this.
4.4 Seats / Pews
This is, I am well aware, a sensitive subject. Nevertheless if the church is to be capable of other uses than our own church services, as I reckon it must be if it is to attract more people than at present, its space needs to be as flexible as reasonably possible. In my view, at least the western end and/or the two aisles should be freed up by replacing the pews there by chairs that can be moved around to suit different requirements. Any new chairs should be good quality and suitable for services, among other things, and not just stacking, steel framed things with webbing seats, but also not so heavy they cannot be easily shifted at all. I have not investigated the options, but there must be a wealth of experience in the C of E on replacing pews with seats available to us.
4.5 Quinquennial Report Tasks
The latest Quinquennial report set out 2 matters under “Urgent” (the main one being the north aisle roof, already discussed), 9 under “Work required in the next 18 months”, 27 under “Work required during the Quinquennial period”, and a further 8 under “Work recommended beyond the Quinquennial period”. These are nearly all relatively minor items that should presumably be seen as normal maintenance jobs to be covered by general income, rather than by an appeal. However their sheer number suggests that a minimum of £4,000 to £5,000, and quite possibly more, will be needed to deal with the great bulk of them. Moreover, a few, concerning aspects of the masonry and the windows, could lead to further large bills.
In particular, paragraph 3.5.5 of the report reads:
“The leadwork cames to the windows are fair to poor. Those on the north aisle are in good order but those, especially on the western elevation, are starting to show signs of significant movement and also some broken panes are visible. As the replacement of lead windows is expensive, it is suggested a review is undertaken by a specialist to give some timeline to the necessity for work.”
[A “came” is a strip of lead with slots running along its opposite edges that is used to hold pieces of glass in leaded windows. RBH]
I recommend that, if there is to be an appeal then, before going ahead, such a review be undertaken as soon as possible to find out if any major expenditure on the windows is called for, so that, if it is, this could be made a further object of the appeal.