Renovated church re-opens its doors

PUBLISHED: 13:31 26 January 2006 | UPDATED: 17:11 11 May 2010

The tower at St Helen's Church

The tower at St Helen's Church

THE benefice service due to be held next Sunday morning at St Helen's Church in Little Eversden marks the end of the church's seven-month closure. During this time, extensive repairs have been carried out costing well beyond the original estimate of some

THE benefice service due to be held next Sunday morning at St Helen's Church in Little Eversden marks the end of the church's seven-month closure. During this time, extensive repairs have been carried out costing well beyond the original estimate of some £200,000. The entire nave ceiling and most of the woodwork from which it is suspended has been replaced. The chancel ceiling has been extensively repaired. No passing motorist could have failed to notice that the church tower has been surrounded by blue plastic sheeting since last summer. The tower now has a new roof. In early August, the four bells were removed and put into storage, later to be re-tuned and refurbished. Friday January 13, was described as a magical day by a group which spent the day at the Whitechapel Foundry, watching two new bells being cast in readiness to make a full complement of six. These, hopefully, will be re-installed later this year. One new bell commemorates the life of Tom Volans, the rector here for nearly 40 years and who in 1953 attempted to bring the bell refurbishment project to fruition. The other one is dedicated to the late Fossey brothers, a certain amount of financial backing having come from the Fossey Charitable Trust. It should be emphasised that the bell restoration project is separately funded and it can only be hoped that sufficient funds have been raised by the time the bells reinstallation is imminent. During these recent months every flint of which the tower is composed has been carefully exposed and cleaned. Stonework has been replaced due to the skills of the dedicated craftsmen of Bakers of Danbury. No detail has been neglected. The weather cock, designed by the late Nellie Riley, has been gilded. Nellie always claimed that between leaving the drawing board and emerging as the finished product the tail feathers had been pruned. Now back in position on the church tower it, too, looks magnificent. The description of this work as described in the village magazine Tail Corn, written by Peter Morton and Michael Nicholson, is in itself a complicated undertaking. Compliments are due to both of them for attempting to enlighten us about the enormity of the costings, some of which are still to be gathered to enable these projects to become a reality and to be a legacy for future generations. - Jill Marshall reports for Village Scene from the Eversdens each week in The Crow.

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