It took us several days to hack off the horrid render which covered the outside walls of the building. The planners initially denied us permission to do this, even though we knew there was likely to be a rather attractive stone facade. Eventually they agreed that we could remove the render on safety grounds, when we found that some of it was not attached to the stone beneath, and was preparing itself to drop on someone's head! When we did remove it, we found some rather attractive, if rough, stone. It took a very long time to rake those joints and point them again, but we're so pleased to see the stone exposed again, rather some some painted cement render.
At the front there are two entrance vestibules, one of which provides the ‘front’ entrance which we don't use much now because the old door is a bit temperamental. These vestibules were added about 30 years after the church was built, and were built in brick rather than stone. So we've left them rendered, and painted them. One elderly resident in the village told me that he remembers coming to church as a child, and the women entered through one door whilst the men came in the other. We've relaxed this rule now…
The original windows in the vestibules have been expertly rebuilt by David, in their original casings. And so have the enormous great windows which run almost the full length of the front elevation – quite a task! Large areas had to be chopped out and replaced, but they look like new now.
The glass is 'tinted' and carries a yellow-brownish cross surrounded by green glass. We had many broken panes to replace, and whilst we could source suitable green glass fairly easily, we could not find any brown to match at all. The cross needed to remain intact, so David took the cracked pane from the frame, then carefully replaced the broken glass into the renovated frame with silicone. See if you can spot it.
After they had been renovated and repaired, these windows needed to be painted. Jill spent days climbing and balancing on wobbly scaffold towers to do this work, and I went up there only to deliver cups of tea at regular intervals. I cannot show you photographs here, lest a Health & Safety inspector should read this.
The old wrought-iron railings and gates were in pretty bad shape, but they’ve been shot-blasted, repaired and galvanised by William, a local iron-worker whose workshop is around the corner on Broad Road. We also managed to salvage some of the cast iron downpipes and guttering, and it’s amazing to see them looking so good with a few coats of paint.