Shipton Church: the challenge

Following the collapse of a large purlin (horizontal) roof timber due to wet rot, further inspection has found evidence of death watch beetle in several roof timbers. As a result, Shipton Church has had to be closed for safety reasons. A number of roof trusses need new timber splicing in, as well as work to the rafters. A number of support brackets are also needed. This is quite clearly a major undertaking.

It has been agreed to fit scaffolding so that the church can be reopened. There will be further investigations of the rafters and the main ridge beam. All this takes time as well as adherence to strict building regulations. This seems a sensible time to make the church more usable for the community. We are looking at enhancing the heating by replacing the old gas heaters, to install an additional accessible toilet and a more useful food servery area.

Thanks to the generosity of the local community and grants, we have just finalised the refurbishment of the bells. Ironically, we are not allowed to ring them because the vibrations may exacerbate the problems with the roof timbers.

A commonly held misconception is that the ‘The State’ or ‘The Church’ funds churches. Not surprisingly, our parish does not have sufficient funds to be able to pay for the restoration work. We will be establishing a fund raising campaign. We have already held talks with a professional fund raiser, who will kindly waive her fee, in helping us to approach organisations offering grants. Donations with gift aid declarations (for taxpayers) will help boost the funds. If you can help in any way to assist with the campaign, then please contact James Walmsley, Churchwarden. Email jameswalmsley@mistral.co.uk or telephone 01993 830842.

June-July 2019