163-year-old church undergoing repairs to secure its future
PUBLISHED: 07:03 14 February 2018 | UPDATED: 07:03 14 February 2018
A Weston church classified as being at risk is undergoing essential repairs thanks to a big Heritage Lottery grant.
The stonework on the tower and spire at Christ Church, in Montpelier, is eroding, and the ironwork has suffered from corrosion over the years.
The 163-year-old church is in such a poor condition because of the decay, Historic England classified it as being at risk.
The Heritage Lottery Fund grant is paying for 80 per cent of the project to restore it to its former glory, and an additional £60,000 was raised by the churchgoers.
It took four weeks for the scaffolding to be installed, but the architects have been able to take a close look at the spire and stonework.
Jonathan Rhind Architects has been responsible for preparing the drawings and is supervising the work.
Senior architect Julian Clayton, who carried out the inspections, said: “This was a good opportunity to inspect the spire up close.
“In spite of strong north winds, the weather cleared briefly so we could examine the stone’s defects in detail, and I was subsequently able to agree the detail of the first phase of the repairs.
“The stonemasons are now able to start masonry and metalwork repairs.
“This will involve repairs to the cockerel weather vane at the top of the spire before it is re-gilded.
“The masonry repairs will include replacing and repairing decayed or eroded stone and treating or removing ferrous metal fixings.”
The work will cost £323,000 altogether, but will ensure the tower and spire will be in good condition for the next 25-50 years.
It is expected it will take six months for the repairs to be completed.
Churchgoers have also raised money for a new audio visual system.
The church’s Historic England listing says the building was added to by Weston architect Hans Fowler Price in 1878.
The church was given Grade-II listed status in 1983.
Other sites in Weston on the at risk register include Birnbeck Pier and the iron age camp on Worlebury Hill.
Three of the town’s conservation areas, Birnbeck, Boulevard/Montpelier and Melrose/Grove Park are also regarded as being at risk.