We've received the following email from Kevin Rogers at the Diocese:


Dear Amanda, Florence and Nick,

Just to bring you up to speed. I hope this finds you and the other residents well during these very strange times.  

You will have seen a bit of activity on site this week. Fullers, in line with government guidance, have returned to the building site. Fullers will revise their programme and we will tell you more as we look at options.

One interesting recent discovery was realising that the area at the west which allowed the lowering of coffins to the crypt level was still in place but capped with a concrete slab. Some of the west and south scaffolding is resting on this and we may need to reconfigure both scaffoldings in the coming weeks.

For the moment the exhibition is on hold – we will look at ways in which this can be done as lockdown eases or as an open-air display. We are also looking at other ways we can share the progress on the roof.

With all good wishes,


Kevin Rogers |  Head of Parish Property Support

Sure enough, work on the church resumed in mid-May and Danny has sent some fascinating photos illustrating what is going on.  Here's a selection - more to come in later posts.  Hover the cursor over the images to see the captions.  We've also provided handy Wikipedia links to explain what may be unfamiliar architectural terms.

First, the main culprit for the damage.  Here's two photos of the Valley Gutter running the length of the aisle, which as Kevin has pointed out, was regularly blocked with leaves from the enormous London Planes overhanging the South aisle, causing water to leak into the church (these were cut back about a year ago, but they look pretty big again to me!).

Valley GutterExposed Timber Rafters

















The first repair task is to erect a temporary roof then remove the original slates - look at the size of them!  Some will be re-used but mostly they will be replaced with new ones of Welsh slate, mounted in special supports.


Scaffold Roof Protection


















And here's examples of the water damage, both to the end of the rafters and also to the Wall Plates which support them.  The wall plates are being completely replaced with massive timbers of Douglas Pine, chosen for its low moisture content to minimise warping in the years (centuries?) ahead.

Damaged Rafters

Water Damaged Wall Plates


















More damage, including a huge hole in the Lath and Plaster interior ceiling.  This will also be replaced, on a second set of rafters below the upper ones.

Wood DamageExisting Damage Lath and Plaster Ceiling



















All the damaged timbers are carefully labelled so they can be faithfully repaired or reproduced  ... and structural repairs can begin, in this case to the Purlin Ends  (Purlins are the longitudinal beams which support the middles of each rafter).

Purloin End Repair

Recording Timbers Once Removed

















Fascinating isn't it?  Watch this space!