Digging for history

AN archaeological dig is under-way at a Portishead church as part of a project to expand the Grade I listed building for its swelling congregation. Leaders at St Peter's Church have spent two days painstakingly removing a wall which leads to the north doo

AN archaeological dig is under-way at a Portishead church as part of a project to expand the Grade I listed building for its swelling congregation.Leaders at St Peter's Church have spent two days painstakingly removing a wall which leads to the north door of the church.The wall had to be excavated as part of proposals to build a new chapter house on the side of the church.Team rector of Portishead, The Rev Alan Taylor, said: "The door can only be seen from the outside of the church so we had to take down the wall and carry out an archaeological dig to see if there were any important remains there."I know at another church in Somerset, they have opened up medieval doors and found dead priests lying there."The archaeological work to be carried out to make sure there were no reasons the mediaeval church, which dates back to 1320, could not plough ahead with its plans to extend the building.An architect has now been appointed to draw up plans for the extension, which is expected to cost in the region of £500,000.Rev Taylor added: "As a church, we are bursting at the seams and desperately need more room."Around 400 people each week use the building, from the toddlers group to the Mother's Union."This extension is badly needed and is somewhere we could hold meetings, choir practice and for our toddler group to meet."On some occasions we have had to limit our services to ticket only.""It would also be somewhere that people could meet for coffee after services."The church has the second largest congregation in the whole of the Bath and Wells Diocese and is second to only Bath Abbey.If no archaeological remains are found and planning permission is agreed, it is planned to launch a public fund-raising appeal towards the cost of the extension.


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