Major repair works are taking place during early 2019. Keep up-to-date by following this blog.

Project updates

The end is nigh

It seems like a long time since the roof of the church was last visible from the floor of the nave. Our extensive repairs have required comprehensive scaffolding, and that scaffolding has given us a precious period of close access to the angel roof. Since just after Christmas 2018, a full deck of boards has created a false floor at the level of the hammer beams. Today, though, the boards have come up. Our resident bats need to spread their wings again, so the scaffolding has to come out; starting with the top level of boards. There’s still work to do on the windows, but that can be done from the scaffolding that remains. And so this was the view this evening, as the roof was revealed to us once more.

A new light is dawning!

How appropriate it is that just in time for Easter, our rebuilt windows have started to return to the clerestory.

The windows are attached to bronze saddle bars to give them strength.

Having seen the windows on the bench last week, it’s so exciting to see them back where they belong.

Traditional methods; no UPVC or silicone sealant here!

Before long, we’ll begin the big clean-up, and will be able to get back to church for our Sunday worship. Obviously, we won’t be back in church for Easter, but it won’t be many more weeks before we’re back home.

A view of the Northern clerestory as the first two windows return.

Rebuilding the windows

A small delegation from the PCC went to the workshops of Devlin Plummer, today, to see the progress with the major renovation of our clerestory windows. The windows are all in the workshop right now. Half have been rebuilt, and the other half are in progress. The picture below shows the state of the old windows (this is one of the better examples).

Terry Devlin gave us a tour and told us about the painstaking process to record the dimensions and shapes of the many windows as they come into the workshop.

We then saw how the glass is cleaned and salvaged where possible, before the lead is completely renewed.

We saw the soldering process…

and the finishing process where the glass is all fixed in place (before being vacuumed).

Many thanks to Terry and his colleagues for showing us round. We can’t wait to see the windows coming back in from next week!

Hard Hat Days Review

A host of Angels – Photo by Michael Rimmer

Well what a busy month we’ve had! March saw over 100 lucky visitors attending our four hard hat days in church. The sessions included a chance to ascend the scaffolding using some daunting ladders. The EDP’s Donna Louise Bishop posted this video of her ascent and wrote this great piece on the experience.

Over the 4 sessions, we had visits from BBC Look East, BBC Radio Norfolk’s Anthony Isaacs (Listen here from 1:20:30). We also welcomed a number of experts who came to speak to our visitors about the importance of what they would see.

Michael Rimmer, author of the Angel Roofs of East Anglia visited along with Sarah Cassell (PhD Candidate on the subject of Angel Roofs), and they provided a wealth of information on the history of our roof. Art conservators Dr Andrea Kirkham and Dr Lucy Wrapson also gave insights into their work in the church as well as a fascinating perspective on the importance of the building and its treasures.

One of the green angels – photo by Michael Rimmer

We’re incredibly grateful to all who made these days possible, including members of the PCC, Gethin Harvey of Nicholas Warns Architects, and Keith and Jeff from GF Atthowe, our main building contractor.

Whilst the hard hat days are now complete, we hope to be able to offer similar opportunities in the future. The investigation work done as part of this repair project has identified need for a large amount of stabilisation work on the medieval paint, and so if we can find funds, we may well be back up with the angels again in a few years time.

Visitors were encouraged to post their pictures online, and many are available through the parish Facebook Page. Twitter users have also been adding pictures there using the hashtag #CawstonAngels.

Attention now turns to progressing the project and getting the important repair work done. We hope to see the clerestory windows returning to the church very soon, and the work in the churchyard is progressing well.

We’re also still seeking financial support for the project, so if you’d like to donate you can do so here. Don’t forget, if you’re a UK taxpayer, please tick the Gift Aid box.

Donate to our Project

Whilst we’ve had amazing support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the All Churches Trust, the Garfield Weston Foundation and the Lady Hind Trust, the project still requires further funds. If you would like to donate, please visit our donations page. Don’t forget to tick the gift aid box if you’re a UK taxpayer. Thank you for your help!

Meeting with the Angels

cawston video 1 from Andrew Whitehead on Vimeo.