St Laurence's Church Roof
Next year will mark the 150th anniversary of the reopening of St Laurence’s Church following the comprehensive renovation carried out in 1867-68 when our Victorian forbears added aisles to the north and south transepts, removed the plaster ceilings to expose the mediaeval roof timbers and replaced all the roofs with new battens to support the tiles and new interior plaster infill between the rafters.
Their work made the building weatherproof, enlarged it to meet the needs of the growing town and left us with the structure we see today. Although the church’s interior was reordered in 2010 with new chairs, heating, lighting and plaster to make it more suitable for contemporary use, little has been done to the exterior and the ravages of both time and Shropshire weather have taken their toll. The roofs have remained largely untouched in the last 150 years; the mortar which secures the roof tiles is crumbling, roof battens are decaying and iron nails are rusting. The consequences can be seen in the numerous tiles which have slipped out of place and the many areas of fallen plaster which have been patched in the nave. Most tiles pre-date the 1868 renovation and lack the nail-holes which nowadays would be used to anchor them to the battens; these tiles have served well but will not continue to do so for much longer. Many of the nails which secure the plaster lath have rusted through, leaving some areas of ceiling perilously loose.
Following recommendations from our Diocesan architect in her recent structural survey of our Church building, the Parochial Church Council (PCC) believes the time has come to replace almost all areas of the roof inside and out with new tiles, battens and plaster secured to the existing oak rafters with rust resistant fittings. The opportunity will be taken to include a layer of insulation between plaster and tiles, to renovate the gutters and downpipes and to repair faulty pointing in the masonry of the church tower. This will ensure the building remains safe, dry, warm and weatherproof for many years to come and will preserve its clean, bright interior for future generations of worshippers.
Of course, this major project will take time and money. While many details remain to be decided, current plans will require the church to be closed from Easter until October 2018, during which time worship will continue in the Parish Centre across the road. As a conservation specialist working with a Grade 1 listed building, our architect will be specifying hand-finished tiles, lime-based mortars and other environmentally-friendly materials so that the end result will be a building to grace the heart of Church Stretton for many years to come.
Now that the official tenders have been received, the total cost of the Roof Repair Project is estimated to be £500,000. So far, we have raised £350,060 through donations, pledges and contribution from reserves. We are required to raise 80% of the total cost (£400,000) before we can appoint a sub-contractor, so our immediate need is, therefore, to raise a further £49,940 by the beginning of March, either by gifts or pledges. We will need to raise a further £100,000 to pay for all of the work, making a total still to raise of £149,940.
There will be a special Gift Day on Sunday 25th February 2018.
On behalf of the Rector and PCC, thank you for all that you contribute to the work of St Laurence’s Church in our local community.
Yours in Christ
Richard Hill, Rector Martin Benson, Treasurer
If you want to give now you can do so by:-
Cheque - please make cheque payable to "Church Stretton PCC" and please write "Church roof appeal" on the reverse. Please hand this in at the Parish Centre, opposite St Laurence's Church, in an envelope marked "Treasurer confidential"
Giving online - the bank details are:-
Bank CAF Bank Ltd, 25 Kings Hill Avenue, Kings Hill,
West Malling, Kent, ME19 4JQ
Sorting code number 40-52-40
Account name Church Stretton PCC
Account number 00090571
Reference Church roof appeal
All of the above information is also available by
clicking here to download a Response Form
If you want to Gift Aid your gift and haven't already completed a Gift Aid form then please click here to download a Gift Aid declaration - please complete this and hand in at the Parish Centre, opposite St Laurence's Church.
Please note that we will be tithing 10% of all gifts given, to be distributed to other appropriate projects. Any surplus funds will be used for church repairs.