Public meeting: all invited

March 27th, 2008 David

PosterThere’s a public meeting on the future of Waltham’s Parish Church at 8pm on Monday 7th April. Details as follows:

Monday 7 April: 8pm

Public meeting: Set in Stone? The Future of Waltham Parish Church

Come and join the debate. Waltham Village Hall (H Hunt Room)

For further info: Tel 01664 464115. Or email

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Rev. Beverley’s update

March 18th, 2008 David

Dear residents of Waltham and friends of Waltham Church,

First of all I would like to say a big thank you for all the encouragement and concern that has come the way of the church, its congregation and its leaders. Your kindness has kept us going!

Of course there is a lot of shared anxiety too and I am sorry that due to the weather and the processing of the insurance claim it has taken so long to start work on securing the spire and starting the long rebuild. The latest I have heard is that scaffolding will start on Wednesday.

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The case of the missing louvre

March 11th, 2008 David

Missing louvre windowWe hope this isn’t a sign that things are beginning to deteriorate on the spire. But one of the top-most wooden louvres has suddenly fallen out (see right). No-one’s sure whether it’s fallen inside the spire, or been blown out onto the roof.

I’m no expert, but I’d have thought that such a wide opening to the winds and rain could further weaken the structure.

Thanks, Alan, for the photo.

14 March: Village Heritage Warden Richard Snodin writes: “I was walking down High Street yesterday afternoon, when I noticed that you can now see daylight through the spire! – just a small gap… but noticeable.

“No doubt it is through the crack and the missing louvre window.”

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Scaffolding due this week

March 10th, 2008 David

I’ve just spoken to Rev. Beverley. Here’s the current situation;

The whole project is likely to cost over £100,000 and take around six months, during which time the church and grounds will continue to be closed off. Workmen will start erecting scaffolding later this week – weather permitting. This is going to be a very difficult project as the ground slopes away, and they will have to be careful not to damage any of the grave-stones. The scaffolding will sit on a wooden platform and completely encase the church tower. It’s likely to take two weeks to erect.

The church’s insurance policy had only recently been renewed. And Beverly says they were fortunate to negotiate very good renewal terms with a £500 excess on any single claim. They’ve already had three other claims since the policy was renewed: for lightening damage, stones thrown through the porch windows, and lead stolen from the roof.

With the earthquake damage, that amounts to £2000 in insurance excess payments. But a recent five-year inspection found other problems, including damage to the stone-lined chancel roof, all of which will cost £37,500 to repair.

Beverly and her team of helpers are already planning a series of fund-raising events to try and meet these costs. We’re also hoping to put a donation button on this site soon for anyone wanting to help.

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Cherry picker fails in heavy winds

March 8th, 2008 David

Cherry pickerWaltham High Street was cut off for most of Saturday as workmen used a £2,000-a-day mobile inspection platform – known as a ‘cherry-picker’ – to try and get close enough to wrap protective canvas bands around the the cracked spire.

Unfortunately the high winds meant that it was only possible to take photographs. A frustrating day for everyone – except the press photographers who were able to take some great aerial shots.

We’ll try and get hold of some of the photos to post on this website.

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Press reports: Melton Times & Grantham Journal

March 5th, 2008 David

Both The Melton Times and Grantham Journal covered the story of Waltham’s damaged church. Here’s the report from the Journal:

Grantham Journal reportA LANDMARK was almost lost forever after last week’s earthquake when a huge crack appeared in the church spire at Waltham-on-the-Wolds.

St Mary Magdalene parish church was badly damaged by last Wednesday’s tremor, resulting in a 30ft hole around the tower. It will have to be dismantled stone by stone. each one numbered individually and rebuilt exactly as before to repair the damage.

The Rev Beverly Stark said: “It is a rather dramatic crack around the steeple. We now have to get scaffolding from the ground to the top of the tower. There was a worry the wind would blow it over during the weekend, but thankfully it was fine.”

Bell ringers first noticed debris in the belfry whilst practicing on Thursday night. But it was not until Friday, in the daylight, when they saw the full extent of the damage.

The churchyard and 13th Century building were both cordoned off for safety, and services on Mothering Sunday were moved to nearby Stonesby. Repair work will start as soon as costs have been worked out but it is not yet known how long it will take. It is hoped the Easter services can be moved to the village hall.

Click here to read The Melton Times’ online report.

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First report from the Rector

March 4th, 2008 David

To all residents of Waltham on the Wolds and friends of Waltham Church

I am sure that you will all know by now that the Waltham church steeple was severely damaged in the earthquake last week. Although I checked the church the next day, we didn’t know about the damage to the spire until after the bell ringing practice on Thursday evening.

We took photographs of the damage first thing on Friday and sent them to the church architect. He immediately said that the damage had made the spire dangerous and we must close the church and churchyard immediately. We were also asked to stop the clock as any vibration could worsen the damage By lunchtime Friday there was great media interest in the story, which has continued over the last few days. have spoken to everyone who has been interested, and tried to set right some wild rumours The Church Council had an emergency meeting last night and asked me to write this letter, so that everyone in the village would know what was happening.

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Press reports: BBC local TV and web

March 2nd, 2008 David

BBC news clipThe story of the earthquake damage to Waltham’s church spire was covered by local TV, radio and press in the days following the event.

We’ve included a couple of links below – one to local BBC TV (right) and another to the BBC news website. But if anyone comes across any more, please let us know by clicking here.

A video clip of a local BBC TV report.

BBC news website: Earthquake cracks church steeple.

The BBC has said they want to follow the renovation work in some detail. So we’ll put more clips on the website if and when they appear.

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