BELL TOWER APPEAL 2017
We need to raise £45,000 to carry out urgent work to repair our Church Tower.
Readers will be used to seeing a stylized picture of our Bell Tower on the front of the magazine most months. This month the Tower is featured in full colour. This is to remind you of the beauty of this glorious Grade 1 listed Church dating from the 13th Century. Constructed of red sandstone the Church glows pink in the late sunlight.
In 1638 a steeple was added on the West Wall. This was replaced in 1690, but it blew down in a storm the following year and was again rebuilt in 1693. It is unclear whether this is the current tower, or whether this dates from 1713 when further building work took place and a ring of 5 bells cast in 1711, was installed. Three of these bells are in their original state and are rung each Sunday as part of the present ring of six.
At some time a clock was added, the mechanism of which can be seen in Nantwich Museum. In 1978 a new clock was purchased in memory of Charles Fletcher Twemlow of Doddlespool Hall.
So what is happening now as we go into the New Year? At the 5 yearly (Quinquennial) Inspection, in May 2013. The Church Architect noted that a lot of the Tower stonework was in need of urgent repairs, which should be carried out within the next 5 years. The Vicar, Wardens and Parochial Church Council have been taking advice on what should be done, costings, methods, craftsmen etc. as well as how we might fund the work.
In late 2015 it became evident that some of the loose stonework was beginning to fall away and quite sharp pieces of stone were found below the Tower. There were serious safety issues. You will recall the Tower was roped off for a while and in spring 2016 a team of stonemasons was employed to make things safe by knocking off the ‘shaling’ stone..
However this was a temporary measure, purely to solve the safety problem. Under the direction of the Church Architect we are now ready to embark of a comprehensive programme of restoration and repair. There is evidence of earlier repairs, but much of this work was not up to the proper standard for conservation, for example cement rather than traditional lime mortar was used. The work we do in 2017 will be carried out to the highest standards and the approval of the Conservation Department.
The work will involve 100% repointing with limestone mortar and the replacement of the faces of at least 30 blocks of stone. (Don’t forget when you look at the Tower it has 2 sides you cannot see very well.)
You have probably noticed that the figures on the church Clock need regilding and we will include this work while the scaffolding is up. If at all possible we would also like to improve the access from the Bell Chamber to the roof of the Tower.
CAN YOU HELP?
We are therefore appealing to you, the whole community to support our appeal for £45000. Readers may be aware that the first move in these circumstances is to apply to the English Heritage Lottery Fund. Despite the quality and worthiness of our applications we have been turned down on two occasions, because there are insufficient funds to satisfy, all the needy applications. We will apply to other funding bodies, but these are likely to provide quite small funding at best.
The Fundraising Committee will also be holding events to boost the fund, the first of which is on 11th February a concert in Church, by DUETTE , with local singers Jane Johnson and Pamela Clarke see page… for details.
Provisional Calendar, further details and arrangements to be confirmed
April: Monday 24th 7.30 CURRY NIGHT at BARN INDIA
Otherwise in Lent A little self-denial perhaps?
May:- 21st May SPONSORS invited for Revd. Peter running in the CHESTER HALF-MARATHON
June:- refreshments following a Renewal of Wedding Vows Service –
July:- Activities surrounding the Patronal Festival.
August:- We hope to be at Betley Show
September:- 30th HARVEST SUPPER, with Pie and Peas supper in the Village Hall
November:- POLICE BAND CONCERT in the Village Hall
Please support our efforts. We hope our activities will not only raise money, but in most cases will provide fun and entertainment.
If you have an idea for a fundraising event and would like to help contact the Wardens Jennifer 01270 820051 or Jim 01270 821382
WE ALSO INVITE YOU TO GIVE as generously as you can for this appeal. Please remember if you are a UK taxpayer, the value of your gift can be increased through gift aiding.
Ideally we would like to commence this work by the autumn of this year.
You may wish to sponsor a stone, a bag of lime mortar or even a shovel full, as a very graphic way of making a difference. These items will be ‘for sale’ at the Concert February 11th.
We are aware that people may wonder why we prioritized the 4 windows on the south aisle during last summer. This was because we were advised this work was even more urgent and finance was provided by a generous donation and a legacy. Do take a look at the work that was done then and you will see how much the building has been enhanced by the work.
ST MARGARET’S CHURCH HAS SERVED THE PEOPLE OF BETLEY AND THE SURROUNDING DISTRICT FOR ABOUT 400 YEARS, NOT ONLY FOR WORSHIP, BUT AT THOSE SIGNIFICANT MOMENTS BAPTISM, MARRIAGE AND FUNERALS WE HAVE A DUTY TO PASS ON THIS LEGACY IN GOOD ORDER.
AND FINALLY remember this project in your prayers.
ON BEHALF OF THE FUND RAISING COMMITTEE and PCC