A message from our Rector, the Revd. Brenda Stewart
Since moving to Wells early last year I have been struck by the wonderful community spirit and passion for the heritage and history of this very special place. At St Nicholas I have a team who are committed to ensuring that our wonderful building, rebuilt after the devastating fire 140 years ago and which sits on a site where there has been a place of worship for over 800 years, continues to play an active and vital part in the town it serves. But we do need your help.
Revd Brenda Stewart
What needs to be done?
• The five-yearly Inspection Report, and subsequent high level surveys have identified the following defects to the structure of the church, which require urgent remedial work, among them:
• Tower: significant and serious cracks and open joints in the tower parapet; repairs to the sound openings and the tower staircase; belfry tie-rods.
• Roof: corroding rainwater goods, defective slates and flashings on the chancel and nave; cracked lead-work on the north and south aisle roofs that is contributing to the current leaks.
• Buttresses and the porch parapet stonework are severely decayed.
• Windows require attention: corroding ironwork is damaging stonework and glass.
• Major face-work repairs.
Historic England is the public body that helps people care for, enjoy and celebrate England’s spectacular historic environment. After an inspection of our Grade II* listed church in October 2018 by their expert advisers, St Nicholas has been placed on the National Heritage At Risk List.
We have inherited this fine building which in many ways has remained at the heart of our community for over 800 years.
It continues to draw people to its peace and tranquillity as well as to its worship. Open daily, it is now more than ever a safe and welcoming place for all: for special occasions in times of joy and sorrow, family activities, our schools, concerts and drama, a craft market, drop-ins and exhibitions. The refurbished bells are regularly rung by the flourishing bell-ringing team.
The church’s Heritage is a valuable asset loved and visited by many, far and wide.
A few years ago the community of Wells very generously responded to an Appeal for the superb new stone floor. Our restoration project will safeguard this vital community building long into the future ……. Can you help us again?
Facts & Figures
- Total estimated repair costs: £310,000
- St Nicholas PCC restoration funds already available: £30,000
- Norfolk Churches trust already pledged: £5,000
- LOCAL FUNDRAISING TARGET £20,000
The Wells Parish Church Steering Group has been successful in its Stage 1 funding application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund (see press release on our home page). This is a fantastic boost but we still need to keep fundraising and we are also in the process of applying to the National Churches Trust and to local Trusts and Charities within Norfolk.
Parishes are responsible for their own church buildings. Contrary to popular belief, the national ‘Church’s’ (i.e. Church Commissioners’), funds are mainly for clergy pensions, supporting social projects in deprived parts of the country, training, and building churches in new urban areas.
Campbell MacCallum’s photograph of the church tower is reproduced by kind permission of the MacCallum family.