Wretton Sign Gary Trouton

Restoration of All Saints, Stoke Ferry

August 2004

Kit explains the work being carried out to restore All Saints

Work on the restoration of All Saint's Church has begun in earnest. A team with particular experience of mediaeval church building techniques has repaired the leaking roof and cleared out the rotten floor timbers. The oak triple-arch gallery has been repaired, its perished feet replaced and stabilised in concrete bearings, and the upper floor timbered to provide a library and village archive. The gate-piers have been re-built and the gates themselves wonderfully restored by Chris Stocking. K-Plant in the Wretton Road have been most generous in their terms of hire. (Whoever it was who made off with the roofing ladder which had been kindly loaned, however, deserves contempt).

The guttering and the downpipes, choked by half a century of factory dust, have been cleared and the finely-built Georgian drainage system excavated and emptied. The building is at last drying out, and although most of the bench-pews had succumbed to wet rot, they have been matched up and repaired wherever possible. The ivy which was strangling the churchyard trees has been cleared. The removal during the 1970s of the headstones to the side of the churchyard wall had had the unfortunate effect of trapping inaccessible and vigorous ivy growth, which was not only bringing down the walls, but also breaking up and defacing the stones themselves. Those which are legible will be cleaned and restored, and repositioned away from the wall so that such

>damage will not recur. Those which are broken and illegible will be recycled into repairs to the stonework of the main building. No graves whatever have been disturbed.

Interesting Micklefield and Etheredge headstones have been rediscovered, and a broken cross will replace the one missing from the West porch, once it has been rebuilt. The re-pointing and stabilising of the churchyard wall will continue throughout the autumn, together with the re-pointing of the exterior stonework and the restoration of the windows. Lime-plastering and limewashing of the interior walls is beginning soon, and it is hoped that the restored building will once again be open to parishioners by October.

Anybody wishing to see the work-in-progress is most welcome: please telephone DM 500373.

Kit Hesketh - Harvey

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