This is the text of the press release of 1 September 2015
St Mary the Virgin Church in Wivenhoe is about to undergo a major renovation project which will enable urgently needed repairs to be carried out to the roof and external stonework as well as a number of other maintenance works to the fabric of the building. The work to the English Heritage Grade II listed building is scheduled to start in early October and is expected to take 4 months to complete.
The works, which are estimated to cost in the region of £100,000, are only possible now due to a very generous legacy. It was intended that these essential repairs, which were identified in the Quinquennial Review in 2012, would be delivered through a combination of fundraising and bids to agencies such as the Heritage Lottery Fund. The legacy means that works can begin immediately, secure in the knowledge that sufficient funds are available to complete this phase of the works.
The roofing works comprise the removal of existing slates on the roof and the ceiling of the south aisle which will expose the structural roof timbers. These can then be repaired and replaced as deemed necessary and the roof covering and ceiling renewed. This will entail the erection of scaffolding on the inside and outside of the building and plastic sheeting to screen the south aisle from the rest of the church interior. The work will be undertaken by Bakers of Danbury who have extensive experience on the repair and restoration of ecclesiastical buildings.
Sunday services will continue as usual throughout the duration of the works and the rector, the Reverend Erwin Lammens, and the Parochial Church Council have worked with the design team and contractor to minimise the impact on other events. It is inevitable however that there will be a degree of disruption in the building and in the churchyard and vicinity.
Speaking about the project Reverend Lammens said “St Mary’s is a landmark in the local community and we are very pleased that the repair works can now begin earlier than we had anticipated, thus preventing any further deterioration occurring. Without this generous legacy we would still be at least a year away from commencing these essential works. We are very aware that the works will cause a degree of disruption and information about any necessary changes to normal operation and about the progress of the work will be made available on the church’s website http://www.stmaryswivenhoe.org. ”