St Edmund, Forncett End

Raising the Roof at St Edmund

Written by John Webster.

Update March 31st 2013: Raising the roof at Forncett St Edmund

We are writing to all those locally who have expressed an interest or might be interested in the care of Forncett St Edmund’s church here at Forncett End.

You may well have already had a letter directed at enlisting volunteer help on our major project of re-roofing the church. Indeed, you may already have responded; for which we are most grateful. Circumstances have changed in the last week and we thought you would be interested in hearing the details. A general comment about the need to defer our intended start is appearing in the April edition of The Forncett Flyer.

We have had to suspend our intended start owing to health problems being experienced by our principal contractor, Barry Bradford, meaning that he will only be able to undertake a limited workload,  We also do not have adequate back-up of roofing expertise. 

The Friends Group committee therefore decided to suspend the project but to research immediately other possibilities and attempt to get the work done before next winter sets in. To this end enquiries are being made regarding other contractors.

The way forward will perhaps be a little different to that envisaged. Much will depend on the responses and how they match up with money in the kitty and whether any voluntary help is permitted by contractors. One thing is clear: we still need to raise funds, firstly to do the roof and secondly to plan installation of services for visitors’ needs. We are hoping for a great Summer Fête 2013! 

We shall let you know, as soon as we can, how things stand. Many thanks for your continuing interest.

Original Article:  

On the pew end at St Edmund’s there hangs a poster announcing: ‘The Centenary Roof Fund 2004’. Now in 2013, as can be seen from the ‘thermograph’ outside the church at Forncett End, our goal is within sight.

We are now in a position to tackle the roof and not before time, as deterioration is beginning to accelerate. It will take until mid-late May. Since retiring from full-time working Barry Bradford has committed himself to leading, as a self-help project, the renewal of the old slate roof, which is now ending its life after a hundred plus years of service. In addition, we are extremely pleased to have the services of Terry Hickman-Smith as architect to supervise the project. In fact, 8 April is the planned starting date for re-roofing!

The concept is one of community involvement and hopefully you can and will wish to play a part. The plan is broadly simple: erect scaffolding on either side of the church, strip roof, demount rainwater goods for servicing, make good any defective timberwork, felt and batten rafters, lay new slates and fix ridge tiles, fix new flashing to gable ends, replace rainwater goods after repainting etc.

Much of the voluntary work involves ‘casual labour’ (e.g. removing/fetching and carrying old and new roof slates) or some more ‘technical’ tasks (e.g. wire-brushing, painting gutters and applying bitumen). We do not envisage more than perhaps four or five volunteers being involved at any one time. What will particularly be required is assistance for Barry working on the roof.

For those who have already expressed an interest in contributing to this major community project in some way a letter will be on its way soon. However, you may like to contact either the works manager, Barry Bradford (01953-788345), or the project co-ordinators, Margaret and John Webster (01953-788114), to confirm your interest. Why not ‘gift’ your help for a morning or afternoon, or longer, during the period indicated above? Posterity will be grateful.

The Friends of St Edmund’s