Position on 29th November 2016.
Great news! After three years of hard work we have been granted funding to replace the Nave and Chancel roofs on the church and also the rainwater gutters and soakaways. Our grant is £184,200 and work is commencing. The soakaways will be renewed before Christmas and a start made on the roof in the New Year. Hopefully it will all be finished by June 2017. We are grateful to all lottery players who are helping to restore our unique building. This is Phase 2 of ongoing work on the church, Phase1 being the Restoration of the Tower, several years ago. Phase 3 will be the lower roof as and when funding becomes available and Phase 4 will be interior works.
Ensuring St James Church is in good condition is vital so that it will remain a community asset for use by future generations. The PCC is determined in the short term that the exterior is waterproof and therefore protects the beautiful interior.
As well as work on the roof a small part of the grant is to be spent on Interpretation Boards and Leaflets for visitors to the church. It is open every day and attracts many tourists so these are very important.
We are also required to involve the local community and in particular our local schools in projects discovering the history of the church building and tracing the history of brave members of the forces who are remembered on our war memorial. Next year this research will be on display in church so that everyone can appreciate the heritage of our special building.
Our thanks go to everyone who is involved. It is no mean feat, as a small community, attempting to restore one of the North of England’s finest Victorian churches.
New information and pictures will be added as work progresses.
Update for 17th March.
After the difficulties with Lowery Roofing who went unexpectedly into liquidation, Ranson Roofing has “stepped up to the plate”. The nave roof will be completed by the end of next week, 24 March, and work, on present planning, will begin on the Chancel Roof the following Monday.
The skyline of the church has been improved with the erection of a new finial cross on the nave roof .
The old cross had partially disintegrated and was removed some five years ago as it constituted a health and safety hazard. The new cross , the handiwork of Gary Chapman, GPM (Ripon) was put in place on 14 March.
Gary Chapman and his Cross.
Gary Chapman discussing the way forward
with the Church Architect , Sebastian Rowe.
Work in progress on the Nave Roof, North Side.
Rotting Rafters Pew Protection Beware falling Masonry
Unloading tiles in Wide Howe Lane Gary Chapman pointing the West Window The GPM(Ripon) Team, Matt , Gary Payne and Gary Chapman.
The start of the repair and conservation work on the church roofs began on 20 November 2016. Some 26 Weeks, 30,000 tiles ,60,000 nails and several hundred yards of roof laths later, the repair and conservation work , supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, has now been completed. On 12 May, the PCC took its church back, which had been closed for Health and Safety reasons on 10 February 2017, a period of 85 days. Such a course of action was unexpected and research of the church records indicate that the church has never before been closed for services since it was built in 1857.
The project is not over, and the Activity Plan continues with further work required on the guide book, interpretation boards, and the War Memorial project. The project completion date is on 31 July 2017, some four years after the PCC first applied for a Heritage Lottery Fund Grant.
This is about the duration of the First World War – a war raging 100 years ago in which ten young men in the Parish gave their lives.