Raddington Church Tower Repairs




St. Michael's Church, Raddington.

For some months now the familiar outline of St.Michael's church has been replaced with a rather sinister plastic clad watchtower, surveying the valley from its promontory.

In the autumn of 2013 slabs of the pink cement rendering, which had been applied to the tower in the early 1960s, started to fall. Philip Scorer, an abseiling specialist was called in to prise off further dangerous sections and patch up the edges, as a temporary measure.

It was realised that further piecemeal repairs were a waste of money and something more drastic was called for, but how would such a tiny parish of fifty souls raise the considerable sum needed to do a thorough job on the whole tower?

By October last year plans were in hand, drawn up by our architect, John Scott, to strip the render from the tower and to protect it with plastic sheeted scaffolding and a tin roof during the winter. This has allowed the walls to dry out and the masonry to be inspected at close quarters to determine where repairs are needed. It is interesting to see where the original builders, centuries ago, used the best stone on the sides most exposed to the weather.

Several of the Beer stone “merlons”, or castellations, need replacing, where they are badly weathered, along with some window jambs, which are of red sandstone. Chris Pearse, our contractor, hopes to start the repair work in April and the rerendering in an appropriate off white lime mortar, should be finished in May. The protective tower will then remain in place for a few further weeks to allow the mortar to cure.

We are very fortunate to have received a generous grant from Viridor Credits Environmental Company for the lion's share of this important project and also assistance from the Somerset Churches Trust, among other charities to augment our own fund raising activities.

February. 2015.

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