Church to get new lease of life with £300k restoration
PUBLISHED: 12:54 27 February 2019 | UPDATED: 13:03 27 February 2019
A Norfolk medieval church has been given a new lease of life in a major restoration costing around £300,000.
Crumbling flint walls and sagging buttresses at the 13th-century All Saints’ Church, Snetterton, have been repaired thanks to almost £250,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund.
The sturdy tower, which stands more than 15m high, also needed urgent work to repair numerous cracks which threatened its survival.
With additional funding from the Norfolk Churches Trust, which has cared for All Saints since 1978, a team of specialist builders has almost completed these vital repairs.
Steven Briggs, of Salhouse-based Medieval Masonry, had led his team, which expects to complete the repairs by the end of April. “It has been far more challenging that we thought because some serious faults came to light as the work proceeded,” he said.
And Shaun Stephens, of Overstrand, who joined the firm about a year ago, said: “When we tapped some flint walls with a hammer they were completely hollow.”
“It has been great to work on a medieval church knowing that we’re saving it for future generation,” he added.
Specialist heritage architect, Gethin Harvey, of Norwich-based Nicholas Warns, said: “Some of the stonework looked genuinely okay on the outside but then we found that some of the mortar had turned to dust.”
Earlier repairs with cement had aggravated some of the problems because it was tougher than the original stone, which cracked and thus allowed water to seep into the flint walls. “There was wind coming through one stone buttress,” said Mr Briggs.
In the tower, a Victorian chimney flue for an original heating system, has also been removed when it was found to have let in the damp. Cracks in the chancel have been repaired.
A group of about 20 council members of the Norfolk Churches Trust including the chairman, Peter Sheppard, and Michael Sayer, chairman of the charity’s grants’ committee, inspected the repair work.
Scilla Latham, secretary, said that the Heritage Lottery Fund has helped to safeguard this important medieval church.
It is hoped to hold more events and services involving the local community and other organisations in the coming months.