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Service to celebrate reopening of church after repairs completed

By Somerset Standard  |  Posted: November 11, 2012

  • BEFORE: The renovation of the eroded cross at Witham Friary Church

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A celebratory service will take place at Witham Friary Church after major repair works to the west elevation were completed.

Church warden Anne Dalgetty said the hard winters over the last few years had played havoc with the pointing to the stonework, causing decay, and resulting in the walls becoming quickly saturated.

Under the direction of Marcus Chantrey, from Benjamin and Beauchamp Architects, the contractors Sally Strachey Historic Conservation Ltd, headed by Lisa Etherton, have repaired the whole of the west elevation and carried out repairs to the west wall internally and the west window.

At the top of the belfry a new cross, carved by Kerry Scrimgbour of Sally Strachey Historic Conservation, has replaced the eroded original.

The bells, the earliest of which dates back to 1764, have also been re-hung by Matthew Higby and Company from Holcombe.

Mrs Dalgety said: "None of this would have been possible without the generous donation from Viridor Credits Environmental Company, who pledged a large grant right from the outset of the project.

"This, together with the handsome legacy from the late Elaine Townsend, a long-time resident of Witham and faithful member of the congregation, set us off to a good start."

Other contributions were received from Garfield Weston, National Churches Trust, the Adrian Swire Charitable Trust, the Friends of Somerset Churches and Chapels, Allchurches Trust, Frome Community Trust, Lincoln Cathedral Community Association, the Sharpe Trust and Harris & Harris.

On Sunday, November 18, at 11am a celebration service will take place to mark the reopening of the church, which has been closed since July 15. This will also coincide with the feast of St Hugh, the church's founder.

The service will be conducted by the Rev Anthony Dickson and Bishop Bill Ind, a former Canon and Prebendary of Lincoln Cathedral, where St Hugh went after he left Witham, will be preaching.

The Duke of Somerset, who is patron of Witham Friary Church and his wife, together with other people connected with the church, will be present.

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