Those of you who have walked over the boards in the Lady Chapel of the Parish Church will be delighted to have seen that our new floor has now been laid.
It has been a long journey. From broken and uneven tiles, to pilot holes and the thoughts of a possible crypt to the boarding up of those pilot holes while we waited for the all clear to start work. Huw Bellis then suggested that as we had to replace all the aisle floor tiles, we might also remove a couple of the front pews to enlarge the space in front of the altar. This would give the Lady Chapel a much bigger role to play, facilitating small intimate weddings, blessings and funerals, as well as weekday services, much more personal than the vast nave of the main Church.
The problems were removal and repositioning of the heater, the making good to the floor under the removed pews, the reinstatement of the walls where the pews once stood and the matching up of a much expanded area of tiling – which were dealt with by the determined and hardworking Fabric Committee conjoined with the fundraising expertise of FOTCH.
We selected local builder Steve Wright to undertake the works. The Lady Chapel was sealed off, sheeted up and work began, digging up the old aisle under the watchful eye of archeologist Professor Hun. All went according to plan and a scene of devastation emerged last seen in the 1800s when the pews and gas matrix were installed. The transformation began to take shape, tiles were matched and ordered, pipework altered and a special porous oversite was laid with an equally specialised lime screed to take the tiles on top. The tiles were laid carefully, matching the original patterns and at the same finished floor level. This was followed by a tile grouting also carefully mixed to match the existing church tiles. Finally a protective coating was painted to give a near identical match. The walls were made good with matching oak, the heater refitted, pew ends and frontages finally put in place and now the floor is restored to its original beauty.
This is not the end. Like people, the Parish Church needs to be beautiful on the inside as well as the out. Work now starts on the next five year journey, cleaning the Gore Memorial, dealing with the lighting and the decorating.
Watch this space!
Chair of Fabric Committee
and FOTCH Member