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Funds raised

The Redmarley Church Heritage Society has worked hard since it was founded in 2017, with a programme of fund-raising events including a monthly “Fortune Club”, donations from villagers and applications for grants. Altogether, to the end of December 2020, our efforts produced £ 111,776 and here’s where it came from:

St Bartholomew’s original fabric fund         14,033
Donations from villagers 30,761
Gift Aid on those donations   3,606
RCHS fund-raising events      12,676
Grants 50,700

Restoration Phase 1

The tower was put on the Historic Buildings “At risk” register and there was a danger to the public as the parapet was severely degraded, with the result that it had to be fenced off with unsightly wire barriers. This initial phase of the restoration included the following works on the upper part of the tower and parapet, done by Wall Walkers who dispense with scaffolding and use abseiling techniques:

Raking out old mortar, pinning the loose parapet stone and re-pointing with lime mortar

Replacing perished stone and lead work

Cornice repair and leading

Repairing water chutes

Corner flaunching

New vice door and frame

            and in preparation for the next phase

Where needed, de-frassing the lower levels of stone to avoid it shearing off and injuring people

Improving weather resistance of areas not yet renovated

This first phase of the restoration project cost us £ 97,451.

What comes next

There is much restoration of the stonework on the lower levels of the tower still to be done (see the buttress photos on “The Tower in Trouble” page). A quick look at the tower shows that quite a few stones have crumbled away and though they have been made safe, they will need replacing. The lower cornices will, in many places, need to be cut out and replaced and subsequently leaded. There is considerable work to be done and our fund-raising will continue.

It is unlikely that the remainder of the project will cost less than £50,000. At the end of December 2020 our funds amounted to just under £12,000.

Final phase

Course stone awaiting replacement on west face

The final phase of the current restoration programme is now under way. The worst crumbled stonework has been cut out of the 2 lower courses and new stone will be put in shortly. The degraded pointing has been raked out and is being repointed with the appropriate lime mortar. The vice door which allows access to the roof has been replaced and the stonework surrounding its frame is being made good.

Thanks to more grants and the income from the wildly successful Abseil day, we now have nearly enough funding to ensure that this phase can be completed by our year end, 31st December 2021.

Needless to say, this is only the final phase of stage 1! A quick look at the photos on the first page shows that there is still a lot of work to do on the buttresses and the base of the tower, let alone the alarming damp inside the church. However, the first phase has been a success and the tower is safe and, for the time being, weatherproof.