Earlier Project Updates

Project Update November 2020

Encouraging response to Village Consultations…

Our Zoom skills were further honed in late October when we welcomed 44 villagers, representing various different community groups, to a round of virtual consultation meetings. The BOF team reminded everyone why St. Mary’s is no ordinary village church and how every generation has adapted the building to the needs of their time. They updated the group on the new phasing of the project, as below, and how COVID has impacted the project’s schedule.


After clarifying how we will keep the village up to date with progress, 3 BOF Champions shared their own personal reflections on what St. Mary’s means to them and how they feel the BOF project will benefit the village. The consultations were an opportunity for many queries and questions to be clarified and some great ideas were put forward to ensure even more village groups and users of the church would benefit from the enhancements.


Don’t worry if you missed out, we are committed to hosting village consultations every 6 months to provide an opportunity to catch up with the project and discuss any concerns. The next round will be held in April 2021 – perhaps even face-to-face!


New Project Phasing approved by PCC

The revised phasing was approved by the PCC (the church’s governing body) at a meeting on 12 October. Responding to the impact of the Covid crisis, it prioritises the most practical aspects of the project and, to take account of a more volatile fundraising environment breaks the project down into a sequence of self-contained elements.


The BOF team fully respects the distinction and beauty of the current interior and is committed to breathing fresh life into this magnificent building. The result will be a flexible space, at the very heart of our village, which can be more widely used by schools and groups.


Phase 1

Securing St. Mary’s future - for our community

The priority for Phase 1 is to make St. Mary’s more practical for existing users and the wider community by undertaking essential repairs and upgrades to include:

           ·         A new heating system.

           ·         Adding facilities such as toilets, a kitchen (view faculty application here), storage and a choir vestry

·         Upgrading the Audio Visual system, essential for delivering remote services


Phase 2

Shining a light on St. Mary’s treasures

St. Mary’s is renowned as one of the ‘grandest churches in the country’. The focus for Phase 2 is to shine a light on the beauty within, by:

·         Fully restoring the disintegrating floor as well as restoring key features of the Chancel such as the Rood Screen

·         Installing improved lighting to highlight the most notable interior features

·         Making the seating more practical by retaining two thirds of the existing pews, making them shorter and movable, and supplementing them with new chairs to deliver a maximum seating capacity of 700

Phase 3

Opening the doors of St. Mary’s

The final Phase will focus on making St. Mary’s more welcoming to all visitors by:

          ·         Opening up the west door, making it useable as a main entrance and more welcoming  by adding internal glass doors

          ·         Raising the bell ringing chamber as part of repurposing the tower area

          ·         Extending the clergy vestry to provide meeting and office space


A great deal of progress has been made, despite lockdown!

Work has been progressing with our heating engineer and architects to produce the detailed design for the heating system. We are in the process of designing the layout of the new kitchen. The design of the new screen, behind which the new facilities (toilets, kitchen etc) will be located, is being discussed with the planning team at the Diocese and various conservation etc bodies. Contractor proposals for the floor restoration are being examined and compared. Work has also been taking place to develop plans to develop the heritage dimension of the building.


New Fundraising Programme for January 2021

We are in the process of appointing a professional fundraiser to provide advice and make applications to grant giving bodies for Phase 1 in the New Year. As part of our fundraising drive, we will be seeking Letters of Support from village and community groups describing what the project means to them, and how it will benefit their group. These letters will be vital to illustrate to potential funders how important the Building our Future project is to our whole community.


Who can I contact if I have a query?

If you would like further details on any of the above or have any other queries relating to the BOF project, please contact the communications lead for the project: Phoebe Hart via bofcomms@gmail.com



Building our Future Group – NOVEMBER 2020