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GALLERY: Church’s former glory resurrected

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A TEAM of craftsmen are spending the summer restoring a Grade-I listed church to its former glory, in a project worth £380,000.

The Saxon church of St Botolph’s in the tiny village of Botolphs is hidden beneath a layer of scaffolding while the painstaking restoration is carried out.

The major repairs, which include a complete re-roofing, extensive masonry work, re-wiring and new drainage, are expected to last until September.

Site foreman Simon Hepworth took time out to give the Herald a tour of the building and explain some of the work being carried out.

He explained how workmen had removed all the Horsham stone slabs from the roof in order to clean them up and refit them.

He said much of the church’s original timber was rotten and riddled with woodworm, but as it was a listed building, it had to be reinforced rather than replaced, where possible.

The roof timbers of the nave are believed to have been replaced in Victorian times, but those above the altar are thought to be originals dating back to Saxon times.

Mr Hepworth said there was some waterproofing work to be done in the tower, and some structural flint work on the walls.

Any money left over at when the major repairs are complete will be used to restore a mural inside the church.

The whole structure is encased in scaffolding, which took five weeks to put up.

A corrugated iron roof on top allows work to continue whatever the weather.

When the Herald visited, a team of young architects were on site, learning about the building and techniques used to restore it.

On of them, Charlie Wellingham, was sketching the church’s interior.

“It’s a really interesting project,” said Mr Wellingham.

“There are lot’s of interesting challenges and it’s absolutely fantastic someone has stepped in and paid for the works.”

Mr Wellingham said he hoped the church would last another 1,000 years.

“These are dedicated professionals who treat the building with the utmost respect.

“It requires absolute care and attention to detail, and that’s what we have come to observe.”

 

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