PICTURES: Pride as Chesterfield church is restored to its former glory

A Chesterfield church is being restored to its former glory thanks to a major grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Wednesday, 12th July 2017, 12:58 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th July 2017, 8:35 am
Michael Sheppard, the stone conservator and contracts manager at St. Thomas Church where the roof and pinnacles are being repaired.

St Thomas’ Church in Brampton has had an ugly metal framework holding up its tower pinnacles since one of them was blown off in a storm in 1962.

But now, thanks to a £97,000 grant from National Lottery players and the generosity of its parishioners, it will be fully restored by the end of August.

The church’s maintenance team leader, Robin Dawson, said: “The structure was put up in the 1960s after one of the pinnacles came through the roof of the church.

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Scaffolding around the tower at St. Thomas Church, Brampton.

“We don’t know why it was done like that but we suspect it was just the cost.

“It is not very good looking and Historic England said we were ‘heritage under threat’ - so we chased up the Heritage Lottery Fund.

“There has been a lot of form filling but we finally got under way at the end of May.”

The grant will not only pay for properly securing the pinnacles so that the framework can be taken away, but also re-slating the roof and repairing the interior walls at the top of the tower.

Michael Sheppard, left, the stone conservator and contracts manager at St. Thomas Church chats with visitors who joined his hard hat tour of the tower on Monday evening.

72% of the money has come from the Heritage Lottery Fund with the rest coming from the church’s maintenance budget and congregation.

After work began, it had to be delayed for a time after the tower was found to be home to some surprising guests.

“We found quite a lot of bees living in the stonework at the top of the tower,” says Robin.

“We managed to get some money from the British Beekeepers Association and a man came down in his full suit of armour to take them away.”

The view looking towards Chesterfield town centre from the tower at St. Thomas Church.

Robin says around 25,000 bees have since been removed and taken to a local apiary.

As well as the work on the tower itself, the grant will also pay for a two year heritage awareness programme including new volunteers, a series of walks, talks and tours and education packs for schools.

St Thomas’ Church is one of the best attended churches in the area, regularly seeing more than 200 people across three services on Sundays.

The church - which was originally built in 1831 to serve the growing industrial community of New Brampton - is used by dozens of community organisations in the town.

One of the decorative features on St. Thomas' Church which will be repaired.

For further information about the project, contact Robin Dawson at St Thomas Brampton Church on 01246 550445 or [email protected]

One of the pinnacles with the liftling gear attached.
Michael Sheppard, the stone conservator and contracts manager, surveys the on-going work at St. Thomas Church where the roof and pinnacles are being repaired.
Scaffolding around the tower at St. Thomas Church, Brampton.
Michael Sheppard, left, the stone conservator and contracts manager at St. Thomas Church chats with visitors who joined his hard hat tour of the tower on Monday evening.
The view looking towards Chesterfield town centre from the tower at St. Thomas Church.
One of the decorative features on St. Thomas' Church which will be repaired.
One of the pinnacles with the liftling gear attached.
Michael Sheppard, the stone conservator and contracts manager, surveys the on-going work at St. Thomas Church where the roof and pinnacles are being repaired.