Restoration of St Peter’s Church 1982-86
Commemoration of the Restoration 28 June 1987
Procession to St Peter’s Church after robing in Wick Cottage [courtesy of Jackie Harrison].
Left to Right:
Rev John Cole
Rev Canon Herbie Stuart
David Douglas – Church Warden
Bishop of Reading Graham Foley
Rev Brian Shenton
Service sheet courtesy of David and Barbara Douglas.
Restoration of the Building 1982 to 1986
Following a statutory 5-year inspection by the Church Architect, the PCC agreed to embark on a major project to restore the main parts of the building indicated by him as urgent and essential to be undertaken. These were:
- complete renewal of the roof covering (which had leaked and been patched for many years), including specialist work on roof timbers (see below);
- replacement of all window glass except for remnants of medieval stained glass in the Chancel, repairs to some window stonework;
- complete renewal of flooring under all the pews and the back floor section. The pews were all removed and sent away for refurbishment;
- modification and adjustment of drainage for roof surface water, removal of ground guttering and installation of French drains round the building;
- death watch beetle was found in all the roof timbers. Due to the antiquity of these timbers we were not permitted to replace them, so they were hollowed out and cavity-filled with stainless steel rods and fibreglass.
A small Restoration Committee was formed of Ray Ellis, Charles Eld, Frank Schofield, Barbara Douglas, David Douglas and Vic Hodgkins. After initial legal processes the Committee turned to raising the money required to finance this large project, which was estimated to be £56,000 – a large amount for that time. This turned out to be a lengthy and busy process. The local community contributed with generosity and goodwill, and many money-raising events were arranged both in the village and at outside events. The Oxfordshire Historic Churches Trust and English Heritage were involved with every aspect of the project and donated approximately 40% of the sum required.
After much hard work, headaches, frustrations and difficulties for over two years the project was successfully completed. A Service of dedication and thanksgiving by the Bishop of Reading was held on Sunday 28 June 1987.
Text and Photos courtesy of David and Barbara Douglas. [Click to enlarge and scroll]
Christmas card sold in aid of the St Peter’s restoration appeal.
A contemporary poem
Friday dawned dark and drear
Our church was in a mess
Plastic at the window, dust causing great distress
The contractors left the church in such a state
but we were indeed so fortunate
to have a band of willing cleaners.
They swept pew and aisle so clean
So bright and shining you could not see
where the glaziers had been
The flower arrangers followed
They seemed an army strong
They toiled the whole of Friday
Until before ere long
The church was full of flowers, the scent of them so sweet
with delphinium and lilies and dainty marguerite.
Restoration of the Bells
Photos courtesy of David and Barbara Douglas. [Click to enlarge and scroll]