A Letter from Nantwich update

September 2009  | re-edited November 2015                                                                            

Well-known view of Church is restored

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The west end of St Mary's on the first weekend in September 2009. The scaffolding with its pink screening has gone and the new stonework and pinnacles are brightly lit with a burst of sunshine.

 

Above: A close-up of the new cross on the west end of the nave

 

 

Above right: A repaired finial on the West front of the church

 

Right: You've missed a bit! One of the sandstone blocks that has seen better days but clearly not yet in need of replacement

 

IT'S back. The well-known view of St Mary's Parish Church in The Square. After seven months of being shrouded in pink netting and ugly scaffolding masking the west end, the church was revealed again in all its glory. (See the view here).

    Now townspeople and tourists alike can see the sandstone building as it should be, and brides will be happy for their wedding photographs to be taken with the former background.

   The west end has been given a facelift and pinnacles that

were removed for safety reasons in recent years have been replaced with new sections.    

   At the same time, the south porch - the main entrance when the west doors are not open - has been given a new look and a lift for use by wheelchair users.

 

 

A restored pinnacle - replaced from

the sooty layer upwards

New look for the

south entrance

THIS (right) is the spacious, airy south entrance to St Mary's after the Victorian inner porch (below) had been removed and four new sandstone steps had been installed. The inner porch had a single side door (unseen on the right in the picture), and double doors at the front.

   The double doors of the inner porch were only opened at the end of services as the congregation exited en masse or for brides to walk in with their bridesmaids.

   Sadly, as the inner porch was not as tall as the wooden doors it protected, the latter had had to be cut across to allow the lower part to open inside the porch. The work on the new entrance has allowed the doors to be restored to a single piece. The join may be made out cutting through the upper loop in the ironwork on the face of the door.

    What will happen to the inner porch? See below for the answer. 

    To the right of the larger picture is a "stair lift" for wheelchair users - a little larger than domestic ones - which is operated by push buttons. The platform for wheelchairs is folded up in the picture.

    Pushbuttons will also open the glass doors for people who cannot push or 

 

pull them. When I called in, able-bodied people were using them for the novelty of it!       

   I have to say that I like the new look. Apart from the doors, the new steps give the entrance a majestic feel, very fitting for the "Cathedral of South Cheshire".

   Right: an artist's view of the work before the facelift.  

 

 A closer view of the steps and the more open aspect of the rear seats in the south aisle now that the inner porch is not standing close to them.

 

The curtains at the west door are now back in place after cleaning and repair work They were made by the church tapestry group to mark the silver jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II in 1977.

 July 2009 update

1 million appeal launched for continuing restoration work

RESTORATION work at St Mary's is a continuing event. There is always something else that needs doing. Which is why an appeal for 1million has been launched.

   The inner porch (see item above) from the south entrance could be utilised for a "small catering facility" (below). Some pews will be removed to create an open area and - when extra seating is needed for larger services - chairs will be used.

  

 

   Also in the north west corner of the church there are plans for a doorway to be constructed through the sandstone wall to give access to a toilet on the outside of the church (right).  

   Outside, the sandstone of the North wall has been eroded by the weather and will need some attention. This will continue the work on the external stonework of the church.

   Other items of work that will take the bill to one million pounds, are:

   l repair and improve the organ in the South Transept [previously worked on in 1994];

   l renew the lighting [carried out in 2014]; and

   l preserve the unique misericords and canopies of the chancel choirstalls. [Repaired in 2015].

   The repairs to the west end of the church and the new south entrance were part of the restoration up to September 2009.

    For this donors have contributed 1.5million.

   The latest appeal was launched by the Bishop of Chester (the Rt Rev Peter Forster) at one of the series of lunchtime concerts on July 9.  He was introduced by the then Rector of Nantwich (the Rev Peter Chantry). 

 

  

2015 UPDATE: The main plans outlined here did not take place. The external toilets were refused permission because of graves in the area. A later idea to use the Church Shop as toilets was thwarted because the entrance is too narrow for wheelchair access and adjacent stone seats cannot be altered.

   See What's On - Churches for the latest works.   

The original letterA Places to See page | The re-rordering at St Mary's (2016) | St Mary's Parish Church website | Updates page | Letters index

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