Filling the Christ shaped hole in the heart of England
The Conservation Appeal
St. Peter and St.Paul's Parish Church is situated in the heart of the historic Maidford monastic site which forms one of Northamptonshire special conservation areas. An holistic approach has been taken towards the conservation of the site which has been described at ‘Constablesque' in its beauty.
Eight hundred years of wear and tear is enough to take it out of anyone! And Maidford Church is no different. The last major works to be carried out on the building were a general refurbishment in the 1890s; the installation of electricity in the 1920s; and repairs to the roof in the 1950s. It would not therefore be unfair to say that the fabric of Maidford Church which forms the very apex of this important site is in need of some ‘TLC'.
The greatest challenges to the care of the fabric of the building are a persistent damp problem, which has been exacerbated by an inadequate and inappropriate heating system (which also resulted in Maidford being described amongst the five coldest churches in the diocese!) and to produce a sustainable combination of sacred space and community venue that the parish church was so obviously originally conceived as being.
To overcome this threat a multi-phase conservation plan has been created:
The first step is the eradication of the damp problem, by the installing new guttering, and digging of French drains, hence the removal of the main source of damp into the building. This is followed by the removal of the perished plasterwork and its replacement with fresh ‘medieval formula' plaster including a damp proof membrane.
The second step will be the removal of the existing, rather ugly and quite inadequate overhead heaters (which in turn drew in the damp) and their replacement with a more sustainable heat system using the existing Victorian and Medieval heating ducts and discrete under pew heating. This will be done in tandem with a new lighting scheme, replacing the present rather ‘flat' lighting system with locally produced chandeliers and wall mountings.
The third phase will be work on the finally ‘de-damped' chancel. Extending the sanctuary area to make a sustainable and maintainable ‘sacred space'. Reuse the existing furnishing to conserve the rotted panelling around the existing sanctuary. And opening the chancel itself up to greater flexibility in terms of both liturgical and community events.
And finally to redecorate the whole interior to return it to its former glory!
This is an ambitious project estimated to cost in the region of £40,000. Which would be difficult enough for any community, let alone a rather isolated rural community of less then 200 people. All donations or assistance in this work would therefore be gratefully received.