Two years after discovering thieves stripped the entire roof of its lead at St Mary’s Whaddon, the 14th century, Grade 1 listed church is once again watertight under a new roof.
Rather than replace the lead roof, the Parochial Church Council (PCC) decided to install a new roof of terne-coated stainless steel that would be less vulnerable to future theft. Obtaining permission for the change in roofing material and fund-raising to cover the cost of the works took 18 months, and was made more difficult by the Covid pandemic. But finally in February 2021 work was able to start on site and the new roof was complete by May. The work was undertaken in two separate, but overlapping phases. Phase 1 involved re-roofing the north aisle, and Phase 2 comprised the roofs to the south aisle and nave.
The work on the north and south aisle roofs proceeded speedily and without any major unforeseen eventualities. Unfortunately, when work commenced on the nave roof significant rot was found in the main roof structure and the re-roofing of the nave had to be temporarily halted while we worked with our structural engineer to determine what remedial works were required, obtained permission to carry out those works, and secured the necessary additional funding to pay for the structural repairs. The community of Whaddon really came up trumps in providing this additional funding at very short notice, and the repairs were undertaken without further delay.
Once these structural repairs were completed, the re-roofing works resumed and all the new terne-coated stainless steel sheeting was in place by the end of April. That left some finishing off works to be completed in early May, including dismantling the scaffolding and clearing away the builder’s compound.
The project would not have been possible without the generous financial assistance from the local community and a number of grant-giving bodies; the Government’s Cultural Recovery Fund (as administered by Historic England), the Amey Community Fund, and the Cambridgeshire Historic Churches Trust. Members of the congregation at St Mary’s joined in the Trust’s annual sponsored ‘Ride and Stride’ last September as part of the fundraising for the new roof. This event is also the Trust’s main source of fund raising.
For more information please contact David Grech (Churchwarden at St Mary’s) Tel: 01220 208938 or e-mail [email protected]
Attached are two photos of the roof taken from the top of the church tower: a ‘before’ taken on 23rd June 2019 (the day we discovered the theft of the lead) and an ‘after’, showing the completed new roof. Both photographs are taken by David Grech and are available for use.