Church Repairs & Maintence

St Margaret’s Church Underriver
Report on Church repairs

As I write this we are approaching the end of the contract, which may have finished a week early on March 22nd. So by the time you read this the contractors and their “Tardis” will be gone. At the time of writing all the interior work has been completed apart from some decoration in the vestry and the vestry block floor is to be sanded and polished. However it will not be possible to decorate the new plastered areas there or in the nave for some time because the plaster use takes time to dry.

The curtain rail on the East wall has been lowered and the stone into which it was fixed repaired. The metal brackets have been painted white, which gives us the option of not hanging any curtain against the newly decorated East wall.

The porch floor has been refurbished and levelled and the porch roof cleaned of moss and tiles replaced where necessary. A new gutter is to be fixed to the west side of the porch with a downpipe. Additional work is still in hand to increase the size of all the downpipes and add a down pipe on the North wall by the porch. Gutters have been realigned and the gullies are to be raised and given proper fitted stone covers.

The bellcote has been repaired and the clock face cleaned. The string course has been restored with new stone where damaged and the whole building has been defrassed (all loose stone removed). There were a good many blue bags full of the material which has come away from the walls and which should have been removed some time ago.

Once the stones have been defrassed some severely damaged stones (mercifully only 3 or 4 at over £300 each) have been replaced, eroded stones refaced with a mix made up of dust from the quarry, layer by layer until the original contour is reached. They are then distressed a little to make them look not too new. There have been some hundreds of stones which needed refacing in this way. Lastly some hundreds of linear meters of pointing have been raked out and restored with a special mix, which makes it very hard and it dries out to a nice pale buff colour.

Some work has been necessary to window tracery in various places particularly where there have been splits which needed to be pinned. During this it has become clear that next time there is some further work necessary on the tracery in various places. Some repointing has also been necessary around some of the windows.

I have been very impressed with the quality of the workmanship provided by the contractor Universal Stone and the fact that they were able to complete the very substantial amount of extra work within the original time frame and finish a week early is impressive - admittedly helped by the comparatively good weather.

Provided proper maintenance is carried out in future the repairs to the stone work should last a hundred years.

In addition to the contracted work new high level heaters are to be put in the chancel to replace the ugly old tube heaters, which it was found shorted out the electrics when the RCD and anti surge work was done last year. It is also intended to put a wall mounted heater in the vestry and to replace the rather horrid light with a ceiling unit with multiple heads.

We are planning a big cleaning day for the church and then a thanksgiving service, of both of which details will be announced shortly. Hopefully nature will take its course and the worn areas in the churchyard will begin to recover quite soon.

John Clemence
13th March 2019

 

 


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