The Church Of The Holy Rood -- Wool, Dorset, U.K.
Re-ordering at the Church of the Holy Rood
As many in the village will know, our church of the Holy Rood, was largely built the 13' Century and then added to, including the chancel and tower, in the 15th Century.
In 1865 the centre body of the church was pulled down, it being in a state of poor repair, and rebuilt including the addition of a South Aisle. At this point the current layout of the church and the pews are as you can see today although some alterations were made in the early 20th Century. The church has a Grade II* listing.
Most of the body of the nave and aisles is taken up with pitch pine pews dating from the 1865 rebuild. These pews are free standing and are not attached to the floor. The area around the North Porch entrance (the usual door into the church) is confined by both pews and the font (13th Century) which is sited, as in many churches, immediately by this entrance. There being no alternative space, the font is also used as a repository for church notices and leaflets.
In addition, there is almost no space for communal gatherings, either after services or on other social occasions. Early last year the PCC consulted with the congregation with the idea of removing the pews at the back of the church to allow space for both social and religious purposes. The idea was accepted and an application was made to the Diocese to remove the pews and, when services demanded, replacing them with chairs.
This was approved in March 2016 and so in September this year work will commence to remove the rear pews, fill in the void underneath and re-tile the floor to match the rest of the church flooring. Tables and bookshelves will also be provided for leaflets etc.
To date grants have been applied for from various trusts and organisations to pay for the costs of this work which will come to about t14,000. Some trusts have already offered money but, as ever, they are keen that the community in the village also make a contribution. (Our Fete and flower festival is one of the events planned to raise such funds.)
We hope that by early November all will have been completed and visitors to the church will see that we have more space for both service and social activity.
September 2016 Update 1
As many will recall, back in Autumn 2014 a PCC Sub Committee was formed to examine the possibilities of re-ordering the West End of the church to make space for both services, notably baptisms, and for social gatherings.
There followed a period of discussions when a range of proposals were examined culminating in a presentation to the congregation as a whole and a display of architect’s drawings for general comment. By Autumn 2015 there was general agreement as to what should be done and accordingly full specifications were drawn up and the work put out to tender. By the end of 2015 it was possible to award the contract to a local firm whose expertise is very much in line with what we require to be done. In addition the Diocesan Advisory Committee were able to recommend the granting of a ‘faculty’ (equivalent of planning permission) which the Diocese Chancellor approved in March this year.
Throughout this process there remained the issue of funding the work and it is with gratitude to both local trusts and local fund raising that we now expect to have sufficient funds, either in hand or pledged, to undertake the work. As many will know this involves removal of the pews at the rear (West End) of the church, filling in the void underneath and retiling the floor to match the rest of the floor in the church. The project also includes the provision of chairs to replace the pews for services where large numbers can be expected.
Work is expected to commence in early September and should be completed before the end of October.
Although the West End of the church will not be available for use while the work is being carried out, services will continue as usual.
Geoff Edwardes (Church Warden)
September Update 2
The work on re-ordering the rear of the church will commence during week commencing 19 September. It will take some weeks during which time members of the congregation should take great care when entering the church from the North door. Updates on progress will be announced at services but during the time the work is being conducted there should be no need to cancel services or events although some disruption will be inevitable. Your patience would be appreciated.
October Update 3
As the congregation will have seen, the reordering which was started nearly four weeks ago, is proceeding as planned.
There was a bit of a delay when, after the wooden floor was removed, it was discovered that the organ was standing on rather old timbers of doubtful strength. This required the building of a wall to underpin the instrument. There is considerable work still to be done but your continued patience would be appreciated.
The void will soon be filled but do take care when entering and leaving the church.
Samples of the chairs to replace the pews have been ordered and will be made available for viewing once they have been made.
We in the church all know that Geoff has worked extremely hard for a long time, taking the lead on this project, and all of us want to express our thanks to him for the enormous time and effort he has put in to take us so far. Thank you Geoff.
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