Conservation project raises the roof at village church

Work is underway on a conservation project to replace the roof at an 8th century church in the Lancashire seaside village of Heysham.

The project at the Grade I listed St Peter’s Church will see contractors using stone tiles taken from the adjacent church hall roof to replace damaged stone on the church roof which had been allowing water in. The oak pegs that hold the stone tiles in place are being replaced along with the internal roof plaster.

The church hall’s roof was replaced with traditional slate last year as part of a wider restoration and refurbishment project aimed at making it more accessible to the local community.

Two North West architecture practices, Harrison Pitt Architects, with assistance from John Coward Architects, have been entrusted to oversee the project on behalf of Heysham Parochial Church Council (PCC) whose members have been involved in a huge fundraising effort with the local community.

Richard Wooldridge, an Architect at Harrison Pitt Architects, said: “St Peter’s is one of Lancashire’s oldest places of worship, dating back to the Saxon period, so it’s of great historical and architectural significance.

“Work of this nature has to be handled sensitively and through consultation with a range of building heritage experts to ensure we maintain the authenticity and character of the building’s original features. It’s an exciting project to be involved in because we’re helping to preserve the building for generations to come.”

Specialist conservation contractor William Anelay Ltd worked alongside Harrison Pitt Architects on the restoration plans.

Will Prew, contracts manager at William Anelay, commented: “We are extremely pleased to be appointed principal contractor at such a unique and historic church. With the in-house skills of stonemasons, carpenters and roofers, the works will be carried out with great care and attention.”

The project team is working with English Heritage and the Ancient Building Trust on the restoration to ensure the end result is identical to the original roof.

The work will be carried out in two phases. The first phase, which will cost £249,000, will fix the roof covering the north aisle, south aisle, nave and bellcote tower, while phase two will see the restoration of the remaining roof space with an additional £146,000 being raised to cover the cost of this.

The Rector, the Rev. Andrew Osborn, said: “I want to thank all those from the church, village and wider community, church goers, and non-churchgoers alike, individuals and local businesses who have generously given and tirelessly worked to get us within £150,000 of our goal. The work should make the church roof good for another 200 years.”

The first phase of the project is expected to be complete at the end of April 2015.

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